Iraq car bombings kill 54

By Xinhua,

Baghdad : At least 54 people were killed and more than 80 injured in two car bombings in northern and western Iraq Tuesday.

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The first car bomb detonated outside a court building in the northern city of Baquba in Diyala province killed at least 40 people and wounded more than 70, while another car packed with explosives blew up in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in the west, killing 14 and wounding as many, the police said.

“The latest reports said that up to 40 people were killed and some 70 injured in the Baquba car bombing,” an officer of the Diyala provincial police told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

A minivan carrying passengers and four police vehicles were set on fire by the blast, he said.

The powerful blast also caused extensive damage to nearby buildings, including the court house, he said.

In Ramadi, some 100 km west of Baghdad, a suicide bomber drove his car into a restaurant and blew it up.

Policemen and civilians, including women and children, were among the casualties in the two incidents, the police said.

Both Diyala and Anbar provinces have been strongholds of insurgent groups, including the Al Qaeda’s Iraqi network and hotbeds of insurgency and sectarian violence since the US-led invasion in 2003.