International

Multiple blasts kill dozens across Iraq

Bombings in predominantly Shia neighborhoods leave at least 49 dead

People gather at the site of a bomb attack in the Ur district of northeastern Baghdad, on Feb. 18, 2014.
Wissm al-Okili/Reuters

Bombs exploded in predominantly Shia Muslim districts of Baghdad and in the southern city of Hilla on Tuesday, killing at least 49 people, police and hospital sources said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, but Shia Iraqis are often targeted by radical Sunni groups, which have been regaining ground in Iraq over the past year and overran several towns in recent weeks.

The deadliest attacks occurred in and around Hilla, 60 miles south of Baghdad, where 35 people were killed in seven car bomb explosions inside the city and in the nearby towns of Haswa, Mahaweel and Mussayab. A further 90 people were wounded in the blasts.

Fourteen people were killed in explosions in predominantly Shia districts of Baghdad, including a bombing inside a parked vehicle in the Bayaa district that killed five people, sources said. There were also blasts in the Amil, Ilam and Shurta districts.

There have been several deadly attacks so far in February. Last week, 15 soldiers protecting a pipeline were killed. And earlier in February, nearly 40 were killed in multiple bomb blasts across Baghdad.

The unrest in Iraq has displaced 300,000 people in just the past six weeks, according to the United Nations. Iraq has become increasingly unstable in the past year, leading many to fear that the country could fall into civil war. Last year was Iraq's bloodiest since sectarian bloodshed began to abate in 2008.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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