x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

At least 34 killed in Baghdad shopping carts bombings

American contractor killed and another US citizen wounded in a bomb attack as their armoured vehicle was leaving a Baghdad university,

BAGHDAD // Explosives loaded into three shopping carts ripped through a crowded market in the Iraqi capital yesterday, killing at least 34 people and wounding 82, an interior ministry official said.

"Explosives loaded in three shopping carts killed 34 people and wounded 82 at the Shurt al Raba market," the official said, adding that the attack happened at 6.45pm when the area was crowded with shoppers.

"There were a lot of people at the market because it is Thursday, the evening before the weekend," he said.

About an hour later, a parked car bomb targeting a police patrol killed six people, including one policeman and five bystanders in a different neighborhood in southwestern Baghdad, said hospital officials.

Also yesterday, an American contractor with the US aid agency was killed and another US citizen wounded in a bomb attack as their armoured vehicle was leaving a Baghdad university, the US embassy and witnesses said.

The attack that killed the American was an improvised bomb that penetrated their armoured vehicle, a witness said.

"An American civilian working with an implementing partner of the United States Agency for International Development in Iraq was killed in a terrorist attack today in Baghdad," said David J Ranz.

A witness said that attack took place at the capital's al Mustansariyah University, just as the delegation was leaving the college in the reinforced vehicle.

Yesterday's attacks came at a time of surging violence in Iraq, with three assaults against foreign officials in four days.

On Wednesday, gunmen fired on a visiting Iranian oil delegation in Baghdad that wounded two Iraqi guards, but the visitors were unhurt.

On Monday, a roadside bomb exploded next to a French embassy car in southern Baghdad. Four French security personnel inside the armoured vehicle were unhurt, but seven Iraqis were wounded.

The surge in the number of attacks comes with only months to go before US forces are due to complete a pullout under the terms of a 2008 security agreement.