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Two car bombs rock Baghdad in increasing wave of violence

A CAR bomb exploded at the entrance to a fruit and vegetable market in south Baghdad yesterday, killing 15 people and wounding about 40, police and hospital officials said.

The morning explosion at the Rasheed market in the city's southern Dora area follows after a sharp increase in violence in Iraq last month, raising concern that militants have regrouped after suffering sharp setbacks in fighting over the last two years.

Hours later, another car bomb exploded in the capital's Karradah district, killing two people and wounding six, police said.

The bomb apparently targeted a police patrol but missed.

Most of the recent bombings have taken place in Shiite areas. The Rasheed market is in a mainly Sunni area, but the farmers who bring their crops there are predominantly Shiites.

Some survivors of the blast complained that security forces were too lax in searching trucks used by farmers to bring produce to the market.

"The security personnel are not searching the farmers who bring their vegetables to the market," one said. "They search only private cars."

Kamil Lahmoud, a Shiite farmer from Mahmoudiya, said he had just sold his produce and was inside an office collecting his money when the blast happened.

"I was injured slightly in my head and left hand," he said. "I went out and saw many people covered with blood and bodies scattered everywhere."

Despite the rise in attacks, the Iraqi government has ruled out asking United States combat troops to remain in Iraqi cities after the June 30 deadline for their withdrawal.

The US-Iraq security agreement that took effect this year calls for American combat troops to leave urban areas by the end of June, with all US forces out of the country by the end of 2011.


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