Baghdad car bomb kills dozens outside Shia office


Monday's car bomb came less than a week after a series of explosions killed 17 people across Baghdad. Here, a policeman stands guard at one of the blast sites on May 31, 2012.



At least 18 people have been killed by a car bomb in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Today's attack in the Bab al-Muadham neighborhood comes four days after a series of bombings killed 17 people across Baghdad, the BBC said.

The bomb went off this morning outside the central Baghdad headquarters of the Shia Endowment, which Reuters described as a government-run body that manages Shiite religious and cultural sites. 

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According to the Associated Press, the blast was so powerful that it caused the office's entire facade to collapse, as well as shattering other buildings' windows and damaging nearby cars.

More than 50 people were wounded, officials told the AP. Rescuers continue to search the rubble for survivors.

The Shia Endowment had recently received threats in connection with a disputed Muslim shrine, its deputy chief, Sami al-Massudi, told Agence France Presse.

Massudi said the endowment sought to take over the management of the famous Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra, a mostly Sunni city, which according to AFP caused friction with Sunni officials.

Tensions between Shias and Sunnis has been running high in recent months, CNN said, after Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi of ordering his bodyguards to assassinate his political opponents. Hashemi denies the charges and has sought refuge in Turkey.

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