BAGHDAD -- Iraqi authorities forced an Iranian cargo plane heading to Syria to land for inspection in Baghdad to ensure it was not carrying weapons, an Iraqi official said yesterday.

It was the second such forced landing this month. The plane was released after the check.

The move appeared aimed at easing U.S. concerns that Iraq has become a route for shipments of Iranian military supplies that might help Syrian President Bashar Assad battle rebels in his country's civil war.

The head of the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority, Nassir Bandar, said the inspection took place Saturday.

Iraqi officials have repeatedly said they would not allow their country or airspace to be a corridor for arms shipments to either Syrian government forces or rebels.

Also yesterday, attacks in and around Baghdad killed eight people. The deadliest attack happened when a car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the Shia neighborhood of Kazimiyah last night, killing five people and wounding 20, police said.

Blasts earlier in the day near a market in Madain, 14 miles southeast of Baghdad, killed three people, police said.

Medics in nearby hospitals confirmed the casualties. Yesterday's blasts followed a string of attacks that killed 40 people in the Iraqi capital a day earlier, including evening explosions near a market and a bus station in the Shia neighborhood of Sadr City.

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