Middle East

Deadly blasts hit Baghdad, Kirkuk and other Iraq cities

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Media captionThe BBC's Rami Ruhayem says the explosions happened almost simultaneously

A series of deadly blasts has struck a number of Iraqi cities, killing at least 35 people and injuring 100 more, police say.

Explosions were reported in the capital, Baghdad, and in Baquba, Kirkuk, Samarra, Dibis and Taji.

Reports said that security forces appeared to be the main target.

Iraq has seen a decline in the overall level of violence in recent years but still suffers bomb attacks on a daily basis.

The BBC's Rami Ruhayem in Baghdad says this appears to have been a co-ordinated series of attacks.

Blasts were reported in the following cities:

  • In Baghdad, a series of at least five blasts struck in various Shia neighbourhoods
  • Police say two car bombs went off in Kirkuk, 180 miles (290km) north of Baghdad
  • A suicide bomber killed a police officer in Baquba, an army officer said
  • Two car bombs targeted security forces in Samarra
  • A parked car exploded killing passers-by in Dibis
  • Roadside devices exploded in Taji and Mosul

The attacks, which unfolded over a period of an hour and a half, also appear to have targeted a convoy in which Health Minister Majeed Hamad Amin was travelling. He was not hurt.

Baghdad military command spokesman Col Dhia al-Wakeel said the attacks bore the hallmarks of al-Qaeda.

"They want to send a message that they can target the stability that has been achieved recently," he said. "This will not discourage our security forces."

It is the deadliest day in Iraq since 20 March - during the run-up to an Arab League summit in Baghdad - when shootings and bombings killed 45 people.

Iraq is due to host a meeting of major international powers to discuss Iran's nuclear programme next month.