16 killed in Iraq bomb attacks

BAGHDAD: Sixteen people were killed in a spate of bomb attacks across Iraq on Tuesday, one of the worst days of violence in the country since US troops left its cities three weeks ago.

Nearly 100 people were wounded in the attacks in Baghdad, Baquba to the north of the capital and Ramadi to the west, just a day after seven police officers and a soldier died.

A one-year-old baby and a girl of eight were among four people who died when a bomb exploded at a market in the capital's Shiite slum district of Sadr City, police and the defence ministry said. Thirty-four others were wounded.

Police defused another bomb in the same market.

Another four people, all workers, were killed and 31 wounded in an earlier twin bomb attack in Sadr City, a sprawling neighbourhood in northeastern Baghdad.

Two people lost their lives and six were wounded in a car bombing in the southern Baghdad neighbourhood of Dora, while a company manager was killed by a sticky bomb in Tajji, on the northern outskirts of the capital.

Also in the capital, Water Resources Minister Abdel Latif Jamal Rashid narrowly escaped a bombing as his convoy drove through the central district of Karrada, security sources said. His ministry denied Rashid was the target.

Six passers-by were wounded when the bombs exploded near a bridge.

Twelve members of the same family were hurt when the minibus they were travelling in was struck by a roadside bomb in the northern Baghdad neighbourhood of Baab al-Muadham.

They were taking the body of a dead relative from the morgue to his burial when the minibus was hit.

In Baquba a woman and her son were killed when the vegetable cart they were pushing struck a roadside bomb.

And in a second day of deadly attacks in the western city of Ramadi, three people were killed and 10 wounded in a double car bombing outside a restaurant, hospital officials and police said.

On Monday, 10 people died, including seven policemen and a soldier, in attacks in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, once a bastion of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, and in the restive northern city of Mosul.

Anbar had seen a sharp drop-off in violence over the past 18 months as local tribes allied themselves with US-led forces, but last week six people died in a suicide car bombing near a mosque in Ramadi.

The latest attacks come just three weeks after US troops withdrew from urban centres in line with a security pact between Baghdad and Washington that calls for American forces to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

Violence has dropped markedly throughout the country in recent months, but attacks increased in the run-up to the US military pullback, with 437 Iraqis killed in June -- the highest death toll in 11 months.

Attacks remain common in Baghdad and Mosul.