New blast in Baghdad pushes day's death toll to 69

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq's worst violence in months has now claimed at least 69 lives in Baghdad.

There were two additional bombings in the evening, after the 14 that struck parts of the capital earlier in the day.

It's the type of coordinated attack that generally takes weeks to plan, and it could have been timed to coincide with the end of the American military presence in Iraq.

Though there's no claim of responsibility, the bombings bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida's Sunni insurgents.

The attacks come in the midst of a major government crisis between Shiite and Sunni politicians. The government of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki this week accused Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, the top Sunni political leader, of running a hit squad targeting government officials five years ago. Authorities put out a warrant for his arrest. And many Sunnis fear it's part of a wider campaign to go after Sunni political figures and to expand Shiite control across the country in the aftermath of the U.S. troop pullout.

Today's bombings are raising fears of a new round of sectarian bloodshed like the one a few years back that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war.


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