Agence France-Presse

Baghdad car bombs kill at least 21

A fire engine arrives at the scene as Iraqi security gather following twin car bombs in the Karrada area of the capital Baghdad on July 31, 2012, killing 12 people and wounding at least 27 others.



Two car bombs in Baghdad killed at least 21 people and wounded at least 27 others on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Clouds of black smoke rose above where the bombs exploded only minutes apart.

An interior ministry official said the first attack was by a suicide car bomber who blew up a vehicle behind the police major crimes headquarters, reported Agence France-Presse. One of the explosions destroyed the entire front of a building and multiple cars, shattered store windows and scattered debris across the street.

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According to CNN, police officers were among the casualties, as the second blast also went off near emergency police in al-Andalus Square. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.

The explosions came only a week after a spate of attacks in Baghdad and across Iraq killed more than 100 people on July 23, reported Reuters. The coordinated surge of violence mostly targeted Shiite Muslims and was deemed the deadliest day in Iraq this year.

The attacks also came a day after gunmen shot dead a TV presenter and wounded his mother, wife and four-month-old baby, according to AFP.

The violence brought July's death toll to 245 people killed in shootings and bombings, nearly approaching January's death toll when 255 people were killed in the wake of the withdrawal of US troops, the AP noted.

Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for all the attacks, in an attempt to take advantage of instability to increase its influence.

CNN also reported that violence has dropped dramatically in Iraq since the peak of Sunni-Shiite clashes in 2006 and 2007 and the withdrawal of US troops from the country in December. Insurgent attacks against civilians and security forces, however, have persisted.

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