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Car bombs, other attacks kill 46 in Iraq

BAGHDAD -- A coordinated wave of seven car bombs tore through bustling commercial streets last night in Shia areas of Baghdad, part of a relentless wave of violence that killed at least 46 inside and outside the capital.

The car bombs detonated after the iftar meal that breaks the daily fast of the holy month of Ramadan. Many people head out to shop or relax in coffee shops in the cooler evenings after fasting ends.

Bombings and other attacks have now killed more than 250 people since the start of Ramadan on July 10, according to an AP count. The violence is a continuation of a surge of bloodshed that has rocked Iraq for months, reviving fears of a return to the widespread sectarian killings that pushed the country to the brink of civil war after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, coordinated bombings against Shias are a favorite tactic of al-Qaida's Iraq branch.

Saturday's first explosion was in a busy shopping street in the central Baghdad neighborhood of Karrada. Police say that attack killed nine and wounded 17.

Clothes vendor Karim Sami was working just down the road from the site of the blast. "We don't know who to blame for these security breaches, but we are sure of one thing: Our people are bleeding every day," he said.

Similar car bombs struck the northwestern Tobchi district, killing eight and wounding 29, and Baiyaa in western Baghdad, killing three and wounding 13, authorities said. Another blast struck Zafaraniyah in southeastern Baghdad, killing six and wounding 15, officials said.

Two separate car bombs exploded in the New Baghdad neighborhood in the southeast, killing five people and wounding 17. Yet another car bomb exploded in a Shia part of the religiously mixed neighborhood of Shurta, killing four and wounding 12, authorities said. -- AP

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