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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Killed in British Helicopter Collision

BAGHDAD -- Two British helicopters crashed after an apparent collision north of Baghdad, killing two British service members, and two car bombs exploded minutes apart in a busy Baghdad market Sunday, killing at least 18 people, police said.

The bombings in the southwest Baghdad market opened Sunday's renewal of sectarian violence one day after insurgents exploded a bomb close to one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines in Karbala.

The city's health department on Sunday revised its death tolls from the attack, saying 47 people were killed and 224 injured.

The two British helicopters crashed after an apparent collision 19 kilometers north of Baghdad, killing two British personnel. Four other personnel were injured in the crash.

"An investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the incident; however, initial reports indicated it appears to be from a midair collision and not the result of enemy fire," the U.S. military said in a statement.

British Defense Secretary Des Browne said the helicopters and casualties were British, and that initial reports suggested that the crash was an accident.

"Sadly, two personnel have died and one is very seriously injured. All of these were U.K. personnel. My thoughts and sympathy are with them and their families," Browne said, adding that the next of kin had been informed.

The initial U.S. statement referred to the downed helicopters as "coalition," but officials later said they were investigating reports that they were British. British forces, headquarters in the southern city of Basra, rarely fly missions north of Baghdad, where the helicopters crashed.

At least two other bombings struck Baghdad on Sunday -- both on minibuses.

A parked bus exploded in the central district of Karradah, killing 11 people and wounding 15, police and hospital officials said. The blast damaged several cars and nearby shops, witnesses said.

In the second attack, a suicide bomber blew himself up on a minibus in northwest Baghdad, killing at least eight people and wounding 11, officials said.

That blast occurred shortly after noon near a courthouse in the al-Utafiyah neighborhood. Many of the victims were severely burned, a hospital official said.

Chaotic arguing erupted in Iraq's parliament during its Saturday session, with the legislature's speaker shouting for order as lawmakers squabbled over who was to blame for holes in security that allowed a suicide bomber to blow himself up in the building's cafeteria.

The crackdown, which will bring 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq by the end of next month, comes as opposition to the strategy grows in Washington and emerges as a central issue in the U.S. 2008 presidential campaign.

A possible presidential contender and one of the most vocal Republican critics of U.S. President George W. Bush's Iraq policy, Senator Chuck Hagel, was in Baghdad and planned to hold a news conference Sunday. It was his fifth trip to the war zone.