By SLOBODAN LEKIC, Associated Press Writer 34 minutes ago
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A dozen explosions ripped through the Iraqi capital Wednesday, killing at least 152 people and wounding 542 in a series of attacks that began with a suicide car bombing that targeted laborers assembled to find work for the day. Al-Qaida inclaimed responsibility.
The bloodiest attack killed at least 88 people and wounded 227 in the heavily Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah where the day laborers had gathered shortly after dawn.
Overnight Wednesday, 17 men were executed in a village north of Baghdad, which put the death toll in all violence in and around the capital Wednesday at 169 and the number continued to rise.
A senior American military official told The Associated Press he believed the rash of bombings was retaliation for the joint Iraqi-U.S. sweep through the northern city of Tal Afar in recent days to evict insurgents from their stronghold near the Syrian border. Al-Jazeera television quoted the al-Qaida as confirming that assessment.
Wednesday's carnage was believed to be the second worst since the U.S.-led invasion. On March 2, 2004, coordinated blasts from suicide bombers, mortars and planted explosives hit Shiite Muslim shrines in Karbala and in Baghdad, killing at least 181 and wounding 573.
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