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40 killed as 4 blasts rock Baghdad

Four explosions in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, two of them at a popular market, have killed at least 40 people and wounded another 100.

“Explosives loaded in three shopping carts killed 21 people and wounded 107 at the Shurt al-Raba market,” AFP quoted an interior ministry official as saying on Thursday

Moreover, one of the bombs reportedly targeted amosque near the market.

The official added that the attack happened at 6:45 p.m. (15:45 GMT) when the area was crowded with shoppers.

About an hour later, a car bomb targeting a police patrol killed six people, including a policeman.

Also on Thursday, an American contractor with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Iraq was killed and three civilians, including another US national, were wounded in a bomb attack in Baghdad. The attack took place as their armed vehicle was leaving the Al-Mustansariyah University, US embassy and witnesses reported.

The latest bombings appear to be part of a wider bombing campaign that has plagued Iraq since senior officials in Baghdad repeatedly rejected US suggestions to further extend their military presence in the oil-rich country beyond the December 2011 deadline.

On Tuesday, 25 people were killed and 30 injured when two car bombs exploded outside the residence of a local governor in central Iraq.

At least seven Iraqis were injured in an attack on a French embassy convoy in Baghdad on Monday.

Local security forces and provincial government officials in Iraq have been the target of attacks in recent months as US troops prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of this year.

Over one million Iraqis have died since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to the California-based media research group, Project Censored.

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