Iraq officials say bombings kill 12 people

People and security forces inspect the site of a car bomb explosion at a commercial street in al-Ameen district in southeastern Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, March 16, 2014. A series of car bomb attacks targeting commercial areas and a restaurant killed and wound scores of people, Saturday in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, authorities said. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
People and security forces inspect the site of a car bomb explosion at a commercial street in al-Ameen district in southeastern Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, March 16, 2014. A series of car bomb attacks targeting commercial areas and a restaurant killed and wound scores of people, Saturday in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, authorities said. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of bombings targeting commercial streets and security forces in Baghdad and its surroundings killed 12 people on Tuesday, officials said.

Police officials said a car bomb also went off near shops in the Shiite holy city of Karbala in the afternoon, killing three people and wounding 16. Karbala is 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad.

Also, police said a car bomb killed one person in the town of Hafriyah, just south of Baghdad. Minutes later, another car bomb exploded near a bus stop in the same town, killing two people and wounding five.

In southern Baghdad, a car bomb targeting a security checkpoint killed two policemen and wounded nine. In northern Baghdad, a roadside bomb explosion killed one person and wounded three others in the Shaab neighborhood, according to police.

Separately, two car bombs near a falafel restaurant and a bus stop in Hilla city killed three people and wounded 13 others.

Hillah, a Shiite-dominated city, is located about 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Baghdad.

Hospital medics confirmed the casualty figures. All officers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of an al-Qaida breakaway group that frequently uses car bombs and suicide attacks to target public areas and members of security forces in their bid to undermine confidence in the government.

Violence has escalated in Iraq over the past year. Last year, the country saw the highest death toll since the worst of the country’s sectarian bloodletting began to subside in 2007, according to United Nations figures. The U.N. said violence killed 8,868 last year in Iraq.

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