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The authorities in Iraq say at least 11 people have been killed in three car bomb attacks on busy markets in southern provinces.

At least nine died and 40 were hurt in two explosions in Amara 300 kilometres south of Baghdad, while two were killed and 27 injured in the town of Diywaniya.

Nearly 200 people have been killed in sectarian violence over the past week. Five people died in this attack on Friday in the Shi’ite stronghold of Sadr City.

Earlier in the week security forces stormed a Sunni protest camp near Kirkuk, provoking clashes in other Sunni areas in the west and the north.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the latest attacks. But car and suicide bombings are the hallmarks of al-Qaeda’s Iraqi wing.

Inter-communal tension has risen as Iraq feels the impact of the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

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