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Coffee shops bombed as Iraq announces October death toll

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
November 3, 2011 -- Updated 1212 GMT (2012 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 2 suicide bombings in Baquba leave 10 dead, 40 wounded, an Interior Ministry official says
  • 3 blasts targeting coffee shops in Basra kill 6 and wound more than 40, a medical official says
  • In October, 258 Iraqis were killed in violence and 438 others were wounded, officials said

Baghdad (CNN) -- A series of attacks Wednesday and Thursday in Iraq, targeting coffee shops and members of Awakening Councils, left 16 people dead and dozens of other wounded, officials said.

The attacks come after a month that left more than 250 Iraqis dead, the Interior Ministry said.

In October, 258 Iraqi people were killed in violence and 438 others were wounded, officials said. Among the dead were 161 civilians, 55 police, and 42 soldiers, according to figures compiled by the defense, interior, and health ministries.

The latest attacks took place Thursday in Diyala Province, killing 10 people and wounding 40 others, an Interior Ministry official said.

A suicide bomber detonated his vest packed with explosives among a group of Awakening Council members who were waiting in line to pick up their paychecks outside an Iraqi military base in southwestern Baquba, the ministry official said.

Minutes later nearby, a suicide bomber blew up his vehicle among groups who were trying to flee the first attack.

Awakening Councils, also known as the Sons of Iraq, are mainly comprised of Sunni Arab fighters who turned against al Qaeda in late 2006. The U.S.-backed movement is credited as being one of the main factors that contributed to a drop in violence.

Council members have become targets for jihadists.

Baquba is about 60 km (37 miles) north of Baghdad.

On Wednesday night, three explosions hit three coffee shops in central Basra around 9 p.m. local time, police officials in Basra told CNN.

Dr. Salah Ahmed, director of Basra Health Department, told CNN that at least six people were killed and more than 40 others were wounded.

Police said the explosions were caused by three motorcycles rigged with explosives left outside busy coffee shops on al-Jamhouriya street. The three explosions occurred within a few minutes, police said.

The oil-rich, predominantly Shiite city of Basra is about 500 km (310 miles) south of Baghdad.

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