Car bombs kill at least 18 in Baghdad Shiite area

AFP , Tuesday 21 Oct 2014

Three car bombs exploded in a Shiite area of northeast Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 18 people, Iraqi security and medical officials said.

Two blasts hit the car park of a large restaurant in the Talbiyah area, while a third exploded near a police patrol which passed by later, also wounding a total of more than 50 people.

The blasts smashed the front of the restaurant, ripping through an outdoor seating area and leaving behind pools of blood on the ground.

Broken glass, tables and chairs littered the area, and the mangled, burned remains of cars sat nearby.

People flocked to the scene to ask whether missing relatives were in hospital or dead, an AFP journalist said.

One of the weeping relatives of the victims at the scene blamed the government and politicians, shouting: "Where is the government, where is the transparency and democracy?"

"They are killing civilians in cold blood and we are still talking about democracy -- we elected them, but today we regret it."

The attacks were the latest in a series of bombings targeting members of Iraq's Shiite majority in the capital that have left more than 50 dead in three days.

There was no immediate claim for the bombings, but the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, which has seized large areas of Iraq since June, has said it carried out other similar attacks in recent days.

Suicide bombers struck Shiite mosques in Baghdad on Sunday and Monday, killing at least 33 people in total.

IS and other Sunni extremists consider Shiites to be heretics and frequently target them with bombings, the victims of which are almost entirely civilians.

Security forces and allied Shiite militiamen have kept IS from attempting to enter the capital in months of heavy fighting, but militants are still able to carry out near-daily bombings in Baghdad.

The Iraqi government has relied on Shiite militias to help resist IS, although some of them were involved in brutal sectarian killings in past years.

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