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Wave of bombings in Iraq hits markets, funeral; 44 left dead

BAGHDAD--A wave of bombings across Iraq striking busy markets and a funeral north of Baghdad killed at least 44 people Wednesday, authorities said, as the country remains gripped by violence after al-Qaida-linked militants took control of two cities in western Anbar province.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. Insurgent groups, mainly al-Qaida's local branch and other Sunni militants, frequently target civilians in cafes and public areas, as well as Shiites and members of Iraqi security forces in an attempt to undermine confidence in the Shiite-led government and stir sectarian tensions.

The deadliest attack struck a funeral in the town of Buhriz, about 60 kilometers north of Baghdad. That bombing killed 16 people and wounded 26 inside of a mourning tent, a police officer said.

The funeral was for an anti-al-Qaida Sunni militiaman who died of natural causes two days ago. The Sunni militia, known as the Awakening Council, was formed by U.S. forces during the height of the insurgency. They are seen as traitors by al-Qaida's local branch and other militant groups.

In Baghdad, a series of bombings killed at least 28 people.

The deadliest attack there took place in the northern Shula neighborhood, where a parked car bomb exploded in an outdoor market, killing five shoppers and wounding 12, a police officer said. In another nearby market, a bomb killed three civilians and wounded 10, authorities said.

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Iraqis gather at the site of a car bomb in central Baghdad, on Wednesday, Jan. 15. Attacks in and north of the capital including a suicide bombing at a funeral and seven car bombs, which killed at least 39 people officials said.

(AFP)

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