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Violence soars ahead of Iraqi PM’s visit to the US
October 28, 2013, 8:43 am

Destroyed cars in the wake of a bombing near a marketplace in Baghdad [AP]

Destroyed cars in the wake of a bombing near a marketplace in Baghdad [AP]

At least nine car bombs exploded in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Sunday, renewing fears that the central government is unable to quell violence largely attributed to Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant, an umbrella group for Sunni extremist fighters.

At least 48 people were killed in Baghdad in attacks on marketplaces and  checkpoints in predominantly Shia districts.

Another 14 civilians and military personnel were killed in the northern city of Mosul when a suicide bomber detonated his car near a checkpoint outside a bank as soldiers were queuing up to receive their monthly wages.

The UN has raised the alarm that Iraq could be affected by the sectarian fighting in neighbouring Syria and is slowly slipping close to the precipice of civil war, which threatened to tear the country apart in 2006.

Earlier this month, the UN mission in Iraq said that 979 people were killed in the ongoing violence in the country in September, with the largest number of fatalities in Baghdad.

It estimates that least 600 have been killed in October so far, bringing the death toll since April to at least 5,000.

The surge in violence comes as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki prepares to visit Washington where he is expected to press for the expedited delivery of military hardware.

Source: Agencies