Explosions around Iraq claim at least 18 lives

IraqCar bombs are a common phenomenon in present day Iraq. They are lethal and effective weapons for militants (AP image)

A car bomb outside a cafe and other attacks in central Iraq killed at least 18 people on Monday, officials said.

The car bomb went off outside the cafe in the town of Buhriz, about 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, killing 12 people and wounding 24, police officials said.

In the southwestern suburbs of Baghdad, a roadside bomb hit a car with anti-al-Qaeda Sunni fighters, killing two and wounding three, police and hospital officials said.

The Sunni militia group, known as the Sahwa, had joined forces with U.S. troops at the height of the Iraq war to fight al-Qaida. Since then, it has been a target for Sunni insurgents, who call its members 'traitors'.

Also Monday, a roadside bomb targeted an army patrol just south of the capital, killing one Iraqi soldier and wounded two others.

In Baghdad's eastern district of Basmaya, three people were killed and seven were wounded when a bomb struck an outdoor market early in the afternoon, police said.

Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figures for all the attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday's attacks, but insurgent groups frequently target civilians in cafes and public areas, as well as members of the security forces, in an attempt to undermine confidence in the Shiite-led government and stir up Iraq's already simmering sectarian tensions.

Monday's attacks came a day after a series of bombings in and around Baghdad killed at least 39 people.

At least 147 people have died in attacks in Iraq so far this month, according to an Associated Press count.

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