Middle East

Iraq attacks: Dozens die in series of Baghdad blasts

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Media captionThe BBC's Jim Muir says the explosions were mainly from car bombs

A series of apparently co-ordinated blasts in the Iraqi capital Baghdad have killed at least 63 people, officials say.

More than 280 people were wounded in the 10 attacks, which appeared to target Shia areas, officials say.

The US has condemned the attacks as "vicious violence".

It comes after at least 52 people were killed in Baghdad on Sunday as police stormed a church where hostages were being held.

The incident is the first concerted show of force by insurgents for months.

"The United States strongly condemns the vicious violence witnessed today," National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in a statement late on Tuesday.

He added: "We have confidence that the people of Iraq will remain steadfast in their rejection of efforts by extremists to spark sectarian tension."

Multiple neighbourhoods targeted

At least seven neighbourhoods were targeted by Tuesday night's explosions, some of which detonated near cafes or restaurants.

Most of the explosions were car bombs but there was also at least one roadside bomb. A salvo of mortars was fired in one area in the south-west of the city.

Officials said the blasts were all in busy, predominantly Shia areas, although Sunni and mixed areas were also hit.

"We were just standing on the street when we heard a loud noise and then saw smoke and pieces of cars falling from the sky," said Hussein al-Saiedi, a resident of the Sadr City area of Baghdad, where a parked car exploded near a market.

"People were fleeing the site in panic, frantically calling the names of their relatives and friends," Mr Saiedi told the Associated Press.

Health Minister Saleh Mehdi al-Hasnawiaid told state media "80% of the wounded were treated and have left hospital".

The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad said the funerals for the victims of Sunday's attack had only just been carried out as the explosions went off.

He adds that that incident had already led people to query how stable the security situation in the city was, and the latest attack will raise further questions.

Large-scale attacks have become much less frequent than they were a few years ago, as insurgents find it harder to get hold of materials needed for explosive devices.

Official figures show October had the lowest level of violence in a year, but people are still dying violently somewhere in Iraq every day.