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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Car Bombs Strike Baghdad on Heels of Market Attack

BAGHDAD -- A flurry of bombings in Baghdad killed 26 people Sunday, and officials said the death toll from a suicide truck blast that devastated a market north of the capital Saturday could be more than 130.

Officials had earlier said Saturday's bombing in the Shiite town of Armili killed 115 people, one of the deadliest attacks in Iraq in months. The blast suggested Sunni insurgents were moving farther north to strike in less protected regions, beyond the U.S. security crackdown in and around Baghdad.

The string of attacks Sunday morning made clear that extremists can still unleash organized strikes in the capital despite a relative lull in violence there in past weeks.

Two car bombs detonated nearly simultaneously in Baghdad's mostly Shiite Karrada district, killing eight people. The first hit at 10:30 a.m., near a closed restaurant, destroying stalls and soft drink stands. Two passers-by were killed and eight wounded, a police official said.

The area is near the offices of the Supreme Islamic Council in Iraq, the biggest Shiite party in the parliament, and is believed to be among the most protected parts of the city.

About five minutes later, the second car exploded about two kilometers away, hitting shops selling leather jackets and shoes. Six people were killed and seven wounded, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

On Baghdad's southwestern outskirts, a bomb hit a truckload of newly recruited Iraqi soldiers being brought into the capital to join the crackdown, killing 15 soldiers and wounding 20, a police official at the nearest police station said, also speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Also, a bomb hidden under a car went off at the entrance of a central Baghdad market that has been hit repeatedly by insurgents, killing three civilians and wounding five, police said.

Armili residents Sunday buried about 70 of the dead from the truck bombing the previous morning. Mourners flowed into mosques and funeral tents set up in the town's main street, where black banners were hung on the walls with names of the dead.

Iraqi army and police forces were out in increased numbers in the streets and closed off entrances to the town to prevent attacks on the funerals -- a frequent target of Sunni insurgents, said Abbas Mohammed Amin, chief of police in the nearby city of Tuz Khurmato.

The toll from the attack in the farming town of 26,000 -- mostly Shiites from Iraq's ethnic Turkmen minority -- was still not clear. Abdullah Jabara, deputy governor of Salahuddin province where the town is located, said Saturday that the toll from the blast was 115 dead -- nearly three-quarters of them women, children and elderly.