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Series of Explosions Rock Southern Baghdad

  • VOA News

A rapid series of loud explosions has rocked southern Baghdad, as US and Iraqi troops continue a security crackdown in the Iraqi capital.

US and Iraqi sources say the more than 20 blasts were linked to military operations targeting insurgent strongholds in the city.

Earlier on Saturday, Iraqi police say a truck bomb killed 37 people and wounded more than 60 outside a Sunni mosque in restive Anbar province, west of Baghdad.

Separately, the US military says eight Iraqi police officers were killed in an insurgent attack on a checkpoint near Baghdad's airport.

In a statement, the military said at least two insurgents were killed in the ensuing gunbattle.

Elsewhere in the capital, an Iraqi official said a suicide car bomber Saturday attacked a checkpoint near the house of a powerful Shi'ite leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. One guard was killed and several others wounded.

Iraqis on Saturday rallied in several Shi'ite cities and towns including Najaf, Basra and Karbala to protest the brief detention by US troops of Hakim's eldest son, Amar.

On Friday, Amar al-Hakim was detained at a border checkpoint when he returned from a trip to Iran. He was released later the same day.

The US military says Amar al-Hakim's convoy was stopped because the vehicles met "criteria for further investigation" in an area known for smuggling. The military says he was detained when members of the convoy failed to cooperate and acted suspiciously.

US officials have apologized for the incident, and said the United States meant no disrespect to the Hakim family.

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