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Multiple car bomb attacks hit Iraqi cities

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Multiple car bomb attacks hit Iraqi cities
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Baghdad: At least 26 people have been killed and many others injured in a series of car bomb attacks in central and southern Iraq, officials say.

Baghdad was worst hit, with eight explosions at bus stations and markets in mainly Shia Muslim districts of the capital.

Two bombs went off earlier in the day in the southern city of Basra.

The attacks come amid a recent rise in violence in Iraq linked to growing political and sectarian tension.

Police said 115 people were injured in Monday's violence, with most of the dead in Baghdad.

The bombs in Basra, a mainly Shia Muslim city, killed at least 11 people. Some reports put the death toll in both cities at more than 30.

In a separate incident, gunmen attacked a police patrol in Anbar province overnight, killing seven policemen.

No group has said it carried out Monday's bomb attacks, but tension between the Shia Muslim majority, which leads the government, and minority Sunnis has been growing since last year.

Sunni demonstrators have accused the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of discriminating against them - something the government denies.

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