Two blasts, suicide attack kill 17 in Baghdad

BAGHDAD Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:54am GMT

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Three blasts, including a suicide bomber attack near an army base, killed least 17 people across Baghdad on Tuesday, the latest violence as Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki faces increasing pressure from a political crisis.

The most deadly explosions took place in Taji, 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, where a suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives detonated his bomb near an army base, killing at least seven people and wounding 24.

Another parked car bomb exploded in a crowded market in the Shi'ite neighbourhood of Shula, northwestern Baghdad, killing 5 people and wounded 13, police and hospital sources said.

In Mahmudiya, a town 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, a car bomb attack near an army checkpoint killed five people, including two soldiers and wounded 14 more, including four soldiers.

Violence in Iraq has eased since the widespread sectarian carnage of 2006-2007, but Sunni Islamist insurgents still launch frequent attacks, seeking to reignite confrontation between the Shi'ite majority, Sunni Muslims and ethnic Kurds.

Shi'ite premier Maliki's government is trying to ease mass Sunni protests that erupted a month ago and his central government is also locked in a dispute with the country's autonomous Kurdistan region over control of oilfields.

(Reporting by Kareem Raheem and Ahmeed Rasheed; writing by Patrick Markey)

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