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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rash of Explosions Kills 150 in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A dozen explosions ripped through the Iraqi capital Wednesday, killing at least 152 people and wounding 542 in a deadly series of attacks that began with a huge suicide car bombing that targeted laborers assembled to find work for the day. Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility.

The bloodiest attack was the first, killing at least 112 people and wounding 227 in the heavily Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah where the day laborers had gathered shortly after dawn.

Overnight Wednesday, 17 men were executed in a village north of Baghdad, which put the death toll in all violence in and around the capital Wednesday at 169 and the number continued to rise.

A senior American military official said he believed the rash of bombings was retaliation for the joint Iraqi-U.S. sweep through the northern city of Tal Afar in recent days to evict insurgents from their stronghold near the Syrian border. Al-Jazeera television quoted al-Qaida as confirming that assessment.

At Baghdad's Kazimiyah Hospital, dozens of wounded men lay on stretchers and gurneys, their bandages and clothes soaked in blood. One older man in a traditional Arab gown and checkered head scarf sat in a plastic chair, his blood-soaked underwear exposed with a trail of dried blood snaking down his legs.

Dr. Qays Abdel-Wahab al-Bustani said the hospital had received 75 wounded people and 47 others who were killed in the explosion. He said the wounded were in stable condition.

In Kazimiyah's Oruba Square, twisted hulks of vehicles blocked the main street after the suicide attacker drove a small van into the midst of the assembling laborers.

Politicians denounced the attack, with Husein al-Shahristani, deputy speaker of the National Assembly, calling it "barbaric and gruesome."

Gunmen wearing military uniforms, meanwhile, surrounded a Sunni village 15 kilometers north of Baghdad in the pre-dawn darkness and executed 17 men, police said. Taji police Lieutenant Waleed al-Hayali said the gunmen had detained the victims after searching the village. They were handcuffed, blindfolded and shot. The dead included one policeman and others who worked as drivers and construction workers for the U.S. military, al-Hayali said.

U.S. forces were the targets of at least three of the day's attacks. In the most serious, an U.S. military convoy was targeted by a car bomb in eastern Baghdad, wounding two American soldiers, the military said in a statement.

Hours later, in the northern district of Azimiyah, gunmen opened fire on a police car, killing two top police officials and two officers. Three Iraqi soldiers and four policemen died when a suicide car bomber struck as rescuers arrived, said police Captain Nabil Abdul Kadir.

Another car bomb exploded alongside an Iraqi National Guard convoy in the northern Baghdad district of Shula, killing at least two, authorities said.

In central Baghdad, just a few hundred meters outside the northern border of the heavily fortified Green Zone, a suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. convoy, police said.

An exchange of heavy machine gun fire rattled for about 10 minutes after that blast, which injured 14 Iraqi police officers sent columns of black smoke billowing over the city. It was not clear if there were any U.S. casualties.