Twin suicide bombings in the centre of Baghdad killed at least six people on Thursday, the latest in a spate of explosions in the Iraqi capital since elections last month.
The blasts went off minutes apart during morning rush hour in the commercial district of Karrada, near a crossroads that is the site of a hospital, a police headquarters and a court building.
Each bombing killed three people, security and medical officials said. Among the fatalities was at least one policeman.
“The first attack was a suicide car bomb between the court and a police base,” said Baghdad security spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan.
“After a few minutes, another suicide bomber… blew himself up.”
Maan also put the toll at six dead, adding that “we lost some security forces” in the first blast.
Ambulances rushed to the scene of the attacks as smoke could be seen rising above the Iraqi capital, while security forces closed off nearby roads, worsening already tight morning gridlock.
The violence comes two days after a wave of nationwide bloodshed, including nine car bombs in Baghdad alone, killed 42 people in Iraq’s deadliest day since the April 30 polls.
Thursday’s bombing was the latest in a protracted surge in violence that has killed more than 3,300 people this year.
The authorities have blamed external factors such as the civil war in neighbouring Syria for the rise in unrest, but analysts and diplomats say the Shiite-led government must do more to reach out to the disgruntled Sunni minority and undermine support for militancy.
Results are not expected from the elections until later this month, but political parties have already begun manoeuvring to try and form alliances, with incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki bidding for a third term in power.
But Maliki’s opponents have railed against him, blaming the premier for a marked deterioration in security as well as what they say is insufficient improvement in basic services and rampant corruption.