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Twin bombings kill 15 to northeast of Iraqi capital

BAGHDAD--Twin bombings killed 15 people northeast of Baghdad Tuesday, the latest in a wave of deadly violence that has cast a pall over Iraq's first general election since U.S. troops withdrew.

The bloodshed came a day after a spate of blasts, including 10 suicide bombings, killed 64 people, raising questions over whether Iraq's security forces can protect upwards of 20 million eligible voters during Wednesday's polls.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, under fire over the worst protracted surge in violence in years along with a laundry list of voter grievances, is bidding for a third term in office in the election, the country's first since 2010.

The Shiite premier has trumpeted a battle against violent jihadists whom he claims are entering Iraq from war-torn Syria and supported by Gulf Arab states including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

But critics say the authorities' heavy-handed treatment of minority Sunnis has contributed to the unrest.

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