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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Car Bombs Strike Iraq Despite New Campaign to Stop Them

BAGHDAD -- A suicide car bomber apparently targeting a senior city official struck an Iraqi military checkpoint Thursday in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad, killing at least eight people, officials said.

Another bomber slammed his explosives-packed car into a checkpoint in a volatile Sunni district in western Baghdad, killing two people and wounding two others, while a parked car exploded as a bus packed with workers passed by, killing at least four and wounding 24 in Iskandariyah, 50 kilometers south of Baghdad, police said.

The blasts came one day after the U.S. military said stopping car bombings had become the focus of a major security sweep to halt the sectarian violence in the capital. Karradah, a major commercial district, has been hit by bombings several times in recent months, including a suicide car bombing Jan. 25 that killed 30 people.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, the top official in the main Shiite district of Sadr City was seriously wounded when gunmen ambushed his convoy, killing two of his bodyguards, police and a local official said.

Rahim al-Darraji has been involved in negotiations with U.S. and Iraqi government officials seeking to persuade the Shiite militias that dominate the sprawling slum to pull their fighters off the streets as part of a security crackdown, and it was not clear who was behind the drive-by shooting attack.

In another development, a judge said the death sentence for Saddam Hussein's former deputy Taha Yassin Ramadan had been upheld on appeal, and the former vice president will be hanged for his role in the killing of 148 Shiites in 1982.