52 killed in Iraq bomb attacks

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iol pic wld IRAQ-VIOLENCE-_0115_11 REUTERS People gather at the site of car bomb attack in Baghdad. Bomb attacks hit the Iraqi capital and a village near the northern town of Baquba killing at least 52 people, police and hospital sources said. Picture: Ahmed Saad

Baghdad - Bomb attacks hit the Iraqi capital Baghdad and a village near the northern town of Baquba on Wednesday, killing at least 52 people, police and hospital sources said.

In the deadliest incident, a bomb blew up in a funeral tent where mourners were marking the death two days ago of a Sunni Muslim pro-government militiaman, police said. It killed 18 people and wounded 16 in Shatub, a village south of Baquba.

Two years after US troops left Iraq, violence has climbed back to its highest levels since the Sunni-Shi'a bloodshed of 2006-2007, when tens of thousands of people were killed.

Al-Qaeda-linked militants are pursuing a campaign of attacks, mostly directed at state targets, Shi'a civilians and Sunnis seen as loyal to the Shi'a-led government.

Half a dozen car bombs exploded across the Iraqi capital on Wednesday, mostly in Shi'a districts, killing 34 people and wounding 71, police and medics said.

The violence occurred amid a continuing standoff between the Iraqi army and Sunni militants who overran the city of Falluja west of Baghdad more than two weeks ago in a challenge to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government. - Reuters

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