BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of car bomb attacks targeting commercial areas and a restaurant killed at least 19 people Saturday in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, authorities said.
Police officials said a car bomb went off at night in a commercial street in al-Ameen district in southeastern Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 13. Minutes later, police said another car bomb explosion near a falafel restaurant killed three people and wounded six in the capital's Qahira neighborhood.
A third car bomb exploded in a commercial street in western Baghdad, killing four persons and wounding 14 others, police said. Later, a car bomb in a commercial area of Baghdad's northwestern neighborhood of Shula killed four people and wounded nine, police said.
In Baghdad's northern district of Hurriyah, a car bomb also exploded, killing four people and wounding 10, police said.
Health officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information to reporters.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of an al-Qaida breakaway group that frequently uses car bombs and suicide attacks to target public areas in their bid to undermine confidence in the government.
Violence has escalated in Iraq over the past year. Last year, the country saw the highest death toll since the worst of the country's sectarian bloodletting began to subside in 2007, according to United Nations figures. The U.N. said violence killed 8,868 last year in Iraq.