Synchronized car bombings in Baghdad kill 12

BAGHDAD (AP) -- At least a dozen people are dead after a double car bombing in a busy commercial district in Baghdad -- one of the deadliest attacks in Iraq's capital in weeks.

Iraqi officials say the cars were parked between a passport office and a courthouse when they blew up nearly simultaneously in a mainly Shiite neighborhood. The 12 people killed were all civilians. Another 36 people were wounded and dozens of cars were burned or damaged.

The blasts came as Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Baghdad to meet with Iraqi officials and preside over a change-of-command ceremony for U.S. forces in Iraq.

American commanders have warned that security gains remain fragile and need to be supported by progress on the political front.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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