At Least 19 Killed In Iraq Car Bombings

At least nineteen people have been killed in two separate car bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad Tuesday, according to officials and local media reports.

The first of the bomb explosions occurred outside a restaurant near the headquarters of the police major crimes division in Baghdad's central Shiite district of Karrada. Minutes later, a second car bomb exploded outside a passport office located just a few kilometers away.

Local media citing officials reported that at least five policemen were among the dead. More than 50 others were injured in the two explosions. Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, authorities blame al-Qaeda-linked Sunni militant groups.

When compared to the volatile period that followed the 2001 US-led invasion, violence has dropped across Iraq in recent years. But the war-ravaged country still witnesses frequent militant attacks, mostly sectarian in nature, on a regular basis. Such incidents have gone up drastically after U.S. combat forces left the country late last year.

The last of US combat troops left Iraq by the end of December, ending a decade-long American military presence since the 2001 invasion of the Middle East nation. The troop pullout was in line with a bilateral security agreement that required the withdrawal of all American troops from the country by the end of 2011.

It is estimated that more than 240 people have been killed in militant attacks across Iraq this month alone. Besides, 200 people were killed in such attacks in June, while more than 255 were killed in January.

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