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Baghdad attacks kill 57

As Iraq seems to be entering political crisis in the same week as US troop withdrawal, forty civilians are killed across the capital and nearly 200 injured

AFP , Thursday 22 Dec 2011
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Smoke rises from the site of a bomb attack in central Baghdad, Thursday (Photo: Reuters)
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A wave of bomb attacks across Baghdad on Thursday killed 57 people, the health ministry spokesman said, as Iraq faced a political crisis, with its vice president accused of running death squads and the premier warning he could break off power-sharing.

Ministry spokesman Ziad Tariq said 57 people were killed and 176 wounded in 10 attacks across the capital. An interior ministry official earlier said there had been 11 attacks.

The attacks, the deadliest in more than two weeks, largely coincided with the morning rush hour, and security forces cordoned off bomb sites, AFP correspondents and officials said.

They struck in the Allawi, Bab al-Muatham and Karrada districts of central Baghdad, the Adhamiyah, Shuala and Shaab neighbourhoods in the north, Jadriyah in the east, Ghazaliyah in the west and Al-Amil and Dura in the south, the officials said.

The violence comes with Iraqi politicians at loggerheads over a warrant issued for the arrest of Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki demanding that Kurdish authorities hand over the Sunni Arab leader, who is holed up in their autonomous region. Hashemi denies the charges.

Maliki has also called for his Sunni deputy Saleh al-Mutlak, who belongs to the same Iraqiya bloc as Hashemi, to be sacked after he described the Shiite-led government as a "dictatorship".

Iraqiya, meanwhile, has boycotted parliament and the cabinet, and Maliki has threatened to replace their ministers in the year-old unity government.

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