Middle East

Twin blasts in Baghdad 'kill 23'

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Media captionA pair of car bombs tore through two different neighbourhoods in Baghdad

At least 23 people have been killed in two large, near-simultaneous blasts in Baghdad, officials say.

The two car bombs exploded near the Aden junction in north Baghdad and the residential district of Mansur, in the west of the Iraqi capital.

More than 100 people were wounded in the blasts, AFP news agency reports, quoting interior ministry officials.

The Mansur blast was in front of a mobile phone company office but it was not clear if this was the target.

The site is also close to restaurants and checkpoints.

The explosion at Aden junction was close to a national security office.

Attacks increase

Violence has increased in Iraq in recent months, with most of the attacks targeting Iraqi soldiers and police.

July and August recorded two of the highest death tolls since 2008, according to government figures.

It follows elections in March which produced no clear winner and created mounting uncertainty. Politicians have failed to reach agreement on a new government.

The US military withdrew thousands of its soldiers in August and declared an official end to combat operations, though 50,000 soldiers remain in the country ready to support the Iraqi army.

The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse in Baghdad says that, despite much talk about the increased capabilities of the Iraqi security forces, bombings remain an all too frequent part of everyday life.

Earlier in the morning, rockets were fired from central Baghdad towards the Green Zone, a closely guarded area home to many foreign embassies and government institutions.