Two car bomb attacks have claimed multiple lives in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, despite increased security for the Iranian president's just-completed two-day visit.
Iraqi police say the deadliest attack occurred Monday in central Baghdad's Bab al-Mudham neighborhood when a car bomb detonated, killing at least 15 people and wounding more than 40 others.
In eastern Baghdad, Iraqi security officials say a suicide car bomber rammed an Iraqi army checkpoint, killing at least two police officers and wounding five others.
The U.S. military says Iraqi soldiers manning a checkpoint managed to prevent the minibus from entering the compound, likely saving lives.
The bombings, which the U.S. military blamed on Sunni Islamist al-Qaida forces in Iraq, occurred despite a major security operation across Baghdad for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit, which ended Monday.
Mr. Ahmadinejad told reporters in Baghdad today that U.S.-led foreign forces should leave Iraq, accusing the United States of bringing terrorism and destruction to the region.
The visit was the first to Iraq by an Iranian president. The two countries fought a war from 1980 to 1988, while Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein.
Meanwhile, the head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, is on a tour of Iraq, and Sunday visited the Sunni rebel bastion of Hawijah in central Iraq.
The U.S. military said in another statement Monday that coalition forces killed five terrorists and detained nine suspects over the past 48 hours, during operations to disrupt al-Qaida networks operating in northern and central Iraq.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.