BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of car bombs hit commercial areas and marketplaces in mainly Shiite areas of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people, officials said.
The bombings were the latest in a campaign by Sunni militants seeking to undermine the Shiite-led government's efforts to maintain security across the country less than two months ahead of national elections.
Violence has surged in Iraq since last year, with the country weathering its deadliest bout of violence since it pulled back from the brink of civil war in 2008. U.N. figures showed that last year, the country saw the highest death toll in attacks, with 8,868 people killed.
On April 30, Iraq is to hold its first parliamentary elections since the U.S. troops' withdrawal in late 2011.
Wednesday's attacks were all carried out by explosives-rigged cars parked in streets of the capital's mainly Shiite areas. Two of the bombings rocked outdoor markets in the northern neighborhoods of Shaab and Shula, killing four civilians in each attack, police said. At least 31 others were wounded in these blasts.
Three other civilians were killed and nine were wounded in a bombing in the southeastern district of Zafaraniyah, police officials said. In Baghdad's southeastern Bayaa neighborhood, three civilians were killed and 11 wounded, while a bombing in the crowded commercial area of Karrada, killed two civilians and wounded 12. And in the eastern Sadr City neighborhood, one civilian was killed and three were wounded.
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