Death toll rises to 18 in Baghdad blasts

Bombs in Baghdad's mostly Shiite district of Sadr City killed 18 people, marking a second consecutive day where major attacks struck the Iraqi capital, security officials said on Friday.

At least two roadside bombs detonated at around 8:30 pm (1730 GMT) on Thursday in the north Baghdad district's Al-Hay market, interior and defence ministry officials said.

The two officials, who both spoke on condition of anonymity, said 18 people were killed in the explosions, and at least 43 wounded. Late Thursday, the officials said at least 12 people had died.

Two security force members were also killed in separate incidents on Thursday.

Thursday's violence came a day after a spate of attacks in the capital mainly targeting security forces, including two suicide car bombs minutes apart against police stations, killed 23 people and wounded more than 70.

Those apparently coordinated attacks were the deadliest to hit the capital since August 28, when a suicide attack blamed on Al-Qaeda at Baghdad's biggest Sunni mosque killed 28 people, including an MP.

The attacks come with less than three months to go before a year-end withdrawal deadline for the roughly 41,000 US soldiers currently in Iraq, with Baghdad and Washington yet to reach an accord on a post-2011 training mission.

Despite a decline in violence nationwide since its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks remain common. A total of 185 Iraqis were killed in violence in September, according to official figures.

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