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Car Bomb Targets Baghdad Shi'ite Neighborhood

Mohammed Ali lies in a hospital bed after being injured in a car bomb attack in Zafaraniyah, Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 27, 2012.

Iraqi officials say at least 31 people were killed Friday when a car bomb exploded near a funeral procession in a mainly Shi'ite neighborhood of the Iraqi capital.

Hospital workers say at least 60 people were wounded in the suicide bombing in the neighborhood of Zafaraniyah.

The blast went off near where mourners had gathered for the funeral of a real estate agent who was killed by gunmen a day earlier.

Witnesses said the massive blast shattered windows and engulfed nearby buildings in flames for hours.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility. But authorities blame Sunni insurgents for escalating violence since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in December.

More than 200 people have been killed in attacks in the past month. Most of the victims have been Shi'ites and members of Iraq's security forces.

The violence comes amid a month-long political crisis in the Shi'ite-led unity government. The main Sunni-backed faction, Iraqiya, accuses Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of monopolizing power in Shi'ite hands. Iraqiya has boycotted the Cabinet.

The political fighting and apparent sectarian violence has raised concerns that the country is sliding into civil war. The last U.S. soldiers left the country on December 18.

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

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