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Car bombs kill at least 17 in Baghdad

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
July 31, 2012 -- Updated 2150 GMT (0550 HKT)
Iraqi security personnel gather at the site of twin car bombings in the Karrada area of the capital of Baghdad on Tuesday.
Iraqi security personnel gather at the site of twin car bombings in the Karrada area of the capital of Baghdad on Tuesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: At least 110 are wounded in bombings, police say
  • Police officers were among the casualties
  • Attacks come a week after the deadliest day this year in Iraq
  • Three people stage assault in another building

Baghdad (CNN) -- At least 17 people died Tuesday when two car bombs exploded in central Baghdad, police in the Iraqi capital said.

One of the blasts occurred near the emergency police department headquarters in al-Andalus Square, and seven police officers were among the dead.

Another blast occurred minutes later outside an Iraqi passport office two kilometers (slightly more than a mile) away.

At least 110 people, including 21 police officers, were wounded in the two explosions, which occurred in separate locations in central Baghdad's Karrada district, police said. The area is a predominantly Shiite district and busy shopping area.

Violence in Iraq escalates

After the bombings, three people authorities described as suicide bombers went into a building near the police department that houses a federal security unit, the major crimes directorate.

Security forces shot and killed one of the suspects. Another blew himself up and gunfire was heard after the explosion. The third person was inside the building and forces searching for the person sealed off the area.

Police say they believe the three were planning to break into a detention center to free people affiliated with the al Qaeda in Iraq militant group.

In the northern city of Mosul, gunmen barged into the house of a TV journalist, killing him and wounding his family members, police said.

He was identified as Ghazwan Anas, 29, a presenter for Sama al-Mosul Satellite Television. The incident occurred as the family was eating after ending their Ramadan fast. No immediate motive was known, and police are investigating.

Opinion: Violence in Iraq? It's the politics, stupid!

At least 103 people were killed on July 23 in coordinated attacks across the country, the deadliest day in Iraq this year.

Violence has dropped dramatically in Iraq since the peak of Sunni-Shiite clashes in 2006 and 2007 and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country in December.

But insurgent attacks against civilians and security forces persist in the country, still smoldering with sectarian tension and political infighting.

Opinion: It's up to Iraq's government to prevent a civil war

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