At least 17 killed in Baghdad bombings

Photo: At least 17 killed in Baghdad bombings / Arab World

At least 17 people were killed on Saturday in a series of car bombings which rocked the Iraqi capital Baghdad, police said, dpa reported.

The attacks - involving at least six car bombs - occurred in central and western areas of the city.

Gunmen also attacked a prison in western Baghdad and freed an unspecified number of inmates after clashes with guards, independent broadcaster Alsumaria TV reported.

Security forces meanwhile foiled an attempt by gunmen to storm a shopping mall in the area of Mansour in western Baghdad, the broadcaster said.

Attacks, mostly blamed on Sunni militants, are almost daily occurrences in Iraq.

Last month, militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took control of the city of Fallujah, as well as vast areas in Ramadi, the capital of the Sunni-dominated western province of Anbar.

Sectarian tensions arose in Anbar after troops loyal to the Shiite-led government cleared out a Sunni protest camp in Ramadi.

The violence in Anbar has raised the prospect of a return to the sectarian bloodshed that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

According to UN estimates, 8,868 people were killed in 2013, the highest annual death toll in five years.

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