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Deadly wave of bombings across Iraq ahead of elections

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
April 16, 2013 -- Updated 1235 GMT (2035 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Toll in attacks rises to at least 42 killed, more than 257 wounded
  • NEW: Attackers hit targets in at least six provinces
  • Shiite neighborhoods, police checkpoints, political offices are among the targets
  • Politicians fear violence will keep voters at home in this week's elections

Baghdad (CNN) -- A series of bomb blasts across Iraq on Monday killed at least 42 people and wounded more than 257 others, police said.

The attacks took place in at least six provinces: Baghdad, Anbar, Babel, Kirkuk, Salaheddin Diyala, and Nasriya, police officials across the country told CNN.

Two of the bombs exploded at a checkpoint near Baghdad's international airport.

Most of the attacks in Baghdad targeted Shiite areas, police told CNN. Al Qaeda in Iraq, made up of Sunni extremists, has claimed responsibility for many attacks in recent months.

Attacks elsewhere hit security checkpoints, Shiite areas and political offices.

With provincial elections scheduled to take place in five days, ongoing attacks have politicians worried that violence could skew the outcome, if Iraqis who fear attacks on polling centers stay at home.

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