(dpa) - At least two people were killed Monday and 11 wounded when a bomb went off in central Baghdad, while a fire broke out in a public market in the east of the Iraqi capital, media reports and witnesses said.
The official channel al-Iraqiya reported that a bomb went off in Baghdad's Tayran area, killing at least two and injuring 11.
Tayran is among the most crowded areas in the Iraqi capital, with many stores and meeting points for workers.
In another incident also in Baghdad, witnesses told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that a massive fire broke out in one of Baghdad's public markets.
No causalities have been reported from the fire, which witnesses said was not caused by a bomb.
However, al-Jazeera news channel reported that clashes led to the fire that destroyed stores in Baghdad's Jadeeda district
Ambulances and fire service vans rushed to the blast scene.
In other news, an official statement from Baghdad said that Iraqi forces killed three militants and detained another 14 as part of the security offensive launched by the government.
Forces also foiled 16 explosion attempts, the statement said.
Separately, Iraqi's Interior Ministry executed 28 criminals and militant cult members in the city of Basra, some 550 kilometres south of Baghdad, Abdul-Karim Khalaf, department chief in the ministry, told the Iraqi al-Sabah newspaper.
He said the ministry on Sunday carried out the 28 executions issued by Iraq's Central Criminal Court.
"The execution of such criminals is considered a message to all criminals in Basra," Khalaf was quoted as saying in al-Sabah.
"The message says that the law is above all and will not make any exceptions for anyone involved in crimes," he said.
Iraqi officials told dpa that the executed criminals included militants from a Shiite cult known as Jund al-Samaa. Members of the group are followers of Ahmed al-Yamani, who believes in the return of a hidden imam.
A deadly confrontation in January between Iraqi security forces and al-Yamani's followers in Basra left at least 40 people dead and 60 injured. Some 300 people were also arrested.
Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces detained a further 400 people for investigation, Khalaf said.
The arrests came as part of a security operation launched by the government against fighters from radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al- Sadr's Mahdi Army militia and illegal militant groups on March 25 in Basra.
Khalaf said that the security offensive does not have a time limit. He added that further inspection operations in which Iraqi troops would be deployed across various areas and districts were planned.
Since the launch of the operation, at least 25 Iraqi security force members have been killed and 302 injured, according to Khalaf.
He added that some 1,300 Iraqi police officers were fired for not efficiently contributing to the operation.
Khalaf said Iraqi troops managed to kill 300 militants and wound another 750 during clashes.