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Baghdad car bombings kills dozens

BAGHDAD -- A wave of car bomb blasts tore through Shia areas south of Baghdad yesterday, killing at least 36 and deepening fears that Iraq is rapidly spiraling back out of control.

The attacks capped a week of turmoil that is posing the greatest test of Iraq's stability since U.S. troops left in late 2011. At least 218 people have been killed in attacks and battles between gunmen and security forces that began with clashes at a Sunni protest camp in northern Iraq last Tuesday.

The unrest follows four months of widespread protests among Iraq's Sunni minority, who feel discriminated against and marginalized by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shia-led government.

Iraqi officials fear that Sunni feelings of disenfranchisement could be exploited by extremist groups such as al-Qaida and a group linked to Saddam Hussein's former regime.

In a possible sign of mounting worries over the deteriorating security situation, Iraqi authorities announced they plan to close the country's only border crossing with Jordan, beginning today. The Interior Ministry said the move is related to Iraq's domestic affairs. -- AP

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