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Police: Car bombs kill 41 in Baghdad market

Two car bombs killed at least 41 people at a busy market in Baghdad, Iraqi police said Wednesday.
Image: car bomb in Baghdad
Iraqis protest as Iraqi army officers hold them back following several car bombs in the market place in Baghdad's eastern Sadr City district on Wednesday. Ahmad Al-rubaye / AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: news services

Two car bombs killed at least 41 people at a busy market in Baghdad, Iraqi police said Wednesday.

The blasts went off in quick succession from parked cars filled with explosives near a restaurant in the Shiite district of Sadr City. A police official told Reuters the bombs also left 68 people wounded.

A third car bomb was discovered but later defused, police said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to release the information.

Angry residents of the sprawling slum threw stones and empty bottles at Iraqi soldiers afterwards, blaming them for not providing enough protection.

The blasts come less than a week after bombings claimed more than 150 lives over a two-day span, raising fears that suspected Sunni insurgents are regrouping as the U.S. military begins to withdraw.

Sadr City is a former Shiite militia stronghold and is heavily guarded by Iraqi military. An offensive last year broke the control of militias over the district, and the area has been relatively quiet in recent months.

The increase in high-profile attacks in recent weeks has raised questions about the ability of Iraq's forces to sustain security gains as they increasingly take over from the Americans.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a weekend visit to Baghdad that the recent bombings were a sign that extremists are afraid Iraq's government is succeeding.

On Tuesday, the Iraqi government announced it has captured the alleged leader of an al-Qaida front group. The military presented the first image of the man it says is Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, saying his arrest would deal a major blow to the insurgency.

Sadr City, a sprawling Shiite slum that contains about 2.5 million people, has been the site of several attacks by suspected Sunni insurgents as well as clashes between Shiite militiamen and U.S. forces.

On Nov. 23, 2006, mortar rounds and five car bombs killed 215 people there in one of the deadliest attacks of the war.

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