41 killed in Baghdad blasts

Five explosions – including three car bombs, a suicide attacker wearing an explosives belt and a blast near the National Theatre – rocked Baghdad today, killing 41 people and wounding scores.

The suicide attacker joined a line of people waiting to buy kerosene before detonating the explosives strapped to his body, witnesses said in the eastern New Baghdad neighbourhood. The blast killed 23 people and injured 51, said Interior Ministry official Maj. Falah al-Mohammedawi.

A car bomb targeting a police patrol in the same neighbourhood killed nine people and injured 17 – all civilians – said police Lt. Alu Abbas and medic Rahim al-Waedi.

Another car bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque in the crowded south-eastern Karada neighbourhood, killing four people and injuring 16, said al-Mohammedawi.

Police said the vehicle was parked next to a small market opposite the Timimi mosque, which was closed for repairs. But witnesses said the vehicle was driven by a suicide attacker.

Distraught residents rushed to the scene, as fire fighters fought back flames from burning cars.

A roadside bomb targeting the convoy of a defence ministry adviser killed five soldiers and injured seven others, ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said. The adviser, Lt. Gen. Daham Radhi al-Assal, escaped without harm, he said.

A fifth blast took place in an open area near the national theatre, al-Mohammedawi said. Initial police reports indicated a mortar blast. There were no reports of casualties.

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