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Car Bomb Kills at Least 18 in Baghdad Shopping District

Iraqi medical officials say at least 18 people have been killed and more than 50 others wounded in a car bomb attack in central Baghdad.

Police say the bomb went off Thursday, in Bab al-Sharji, a shopping district in the Iraqi capital.

Insurgents have stepped up attacks in Baghdad in recent weeks after a lull in violence that lasted several months. A double bomb attack in another commercial district of Baghdad killed almost 70 people last week.

In other news, an Iraqi Chaldean Catholic archbishop has been found dead near the northern city of Mosul, where he was kidnapped last month.

Church officials in Baghdad and the Vatican said Thursday it is not clear if Paulos Faraj Rahho was killed by his kidnappers or died from poor health. Pope Benedict said he is deeply saddened by Rahho's death.

Gunmen abducted Rahho, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, after killing his driver and two companions in a shootout. No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Chaldean Catholics are the largest Christian community in Iraq.

In other violence Thursday, two suicide bomb attacks near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk killed three people.

In one attack, a suicide car bomber killed an Iraqi soldier at a security checkpoint. In the other, a suicide bomber blew himself up near members of a U.S.-backed neighborhood militia in the town of Zab, killing two of the militiamen.

Also Thursday, gunmen killed Qassim Abdul-Hussein al-Iqabi, an employee of a Baghdad newspaper in a drive-by shooting in the capital's Karradah district.

And the U.S. military says coalition soldiers operating in Diyala province killed a young Iraqi girl Wednesday after firing warning shots at a woman who appeared to be acting suspiciously. The military says it takes the loss of innocent civilian life seriously and is investigating the incident.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.