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IRAQ: At least 16 killed in Baghdad bombings

At least 16 people were killed in bombings in eastern Baghdad today, a reminder of the complicated situation in Iraq as Americans headed to the polls to elect their next president.

A bomb hidden in a car at a bus stop claimed the lives of 11 people and wounded 21 others in Mashtal neighborhood, police and hospital officials said. A roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad’s Qahira district killed five civilians, police said. A police officer was fatally shot by gunmen in a car in the Talbiya neighborhood, police said.

The attacks in eastern Baghdad, once a stronghold of Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr, suggested that some splinter factions from his militia were conducting operations despite a freeze on most of his fighters.

Also today, a bomb planted in a car in the convoy of a prominent Shiite official, Ahmed Barak, who heads Iraq’s property claims commission, exploded, killing a civilian and wounding eight others, including five of Barak's guards.

Barak is a former member of the Governing Council, appointed by the United States in 2003, which helped rule the country until Iraq received sovereignty in June 2004.

In other developments, the Sadr movement announced that the Iraqi army raided a mosque in Sadr City, where followers were mourning on the anniversary of the 1998 death of Sadr’s father, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadeq Sadr.  Fighting erupted and two civilians were killed and four others wounded, the Sadr movement said in a statement.

-- Ned Parker in Baghdad

P.S. Get news from the Middle East in your mailbox every day. The Los Angeles Times distributes a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, including the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can subscribe by logging in at the website here, clicking on the box for "L.A. Times updates" and then clicking on the "World: Mideast" box.

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