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15 dead in Iraq bomb attacks

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
March 7, 2012 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: 14 people are killed by a car bomb and a suicide bomb
  • The twin bombings occurred in the town of Tal Afar
  • One person dies in a car bombing in Baghdad

Baghdad (CNN) -- At least 14 people were killed Wednesday when a car bomb was followed by a suicide bomb in the Iraqi town of Tal Afar, according to the provincial health director.

Sixteen people were wounded, said Salaheddin al-Nuaimi, health director for Nineveh province.

The incidents occurred about 3:15 p.m., according to officials with Iraq's Interior Ministry.

The car bomb exploded outside a busy restaurant in the al-Kifah neighborhood of western Tal Afar, a Shiite area, the officials said. As people gathered minutes later to help the wounded, a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest detonated, causing more casualties.

Tal Afar, about 70 kilometers west of Mosul, is a town of mixed Sunnis and Shiites. In recent years, Sunni extremists have carried out attacks in Tal Afar targeting Shiite neighborhoods.

Earlier Wednesday, one person was killed when a car bomb exploded near the motorcade of the Iraqi housing minister, Mohammed al-Daraji, in the Harthiya district of Baghdad, police said. Al-Daraji was not part of the motorcade. Four people were injured, police said.

Insurgency groups have targeted senior government officials and their security convoys in the area.

Officials and members of parliament usually use armored vehicles when they travel in the streets of Baghdad to protect against shootings and assassinations.

Last month, Iraqi lawmakers voted to approve spending $50 million on armored cars, sparking controversy.

Amid harsh criticism, they said they would delay the decision on purchasing 325 armored vehicles.

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