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Iraq Violence Leaves 60 Dead



Iraqi officials say car bombings have killed mourners at a funeral in a predominately Shi'ite area of Baghdad, one of a string of deadly attacks on Saturday that left at least 60 people dead.

Police say the Sadr City blasts took place near a crowded funeral tent. At least 50 people were killed and 70 wounded.

Investigators say a suicide car bomber was responsible for at least one explosion while at least one other blast took place in an explosives-laden vehicle.

Earlier Saturday, a series of attacks across the country left at least 10 security force members dead.

The deadliest incident on took place in Baiji, a town north of Baghdad. Officials say suicide bombers detonated explosives at a police headquarters, killing at least six police officers.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. However, violence between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims has risen sharply in recent months, raising fears of all-out sectarian warfare.

Also, the civil conflict in neighboring Syria appears to be fueling tensions in Iraq. Sunnis in Iraq have backed efforts by their Syrian counterparts to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

On Friday, an explosion inside a Sunni mosque killed 15 people in Samarra, north of Baghdad.

In another development, voters in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region cast ballots in parliamentary elections on Saturday.



The dominant parties - President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and regional President Massoud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party - are being challenged by smaller parties seeking more influence in parliament.

One challenger is the opposition Gorran party which had a strong showing in the 2009 election.

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