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Dozens dead after Iraq attacks, soon before elections take place

Deadly coordinated bombings kill dozens in multiple cities in Iraq — no responsible group has been named, but Al Qaeda is thought to be likely.

Iraq bombings april 15 2013Enlarge
Iraqi look at the remains of vehicles damaged following an explosion in the al-Obaidi neighborhood, east of Baghdad on April 15, 2013. More than a dozen bombings across Iraq killed at least 19 people in the latest in a spike in violence just days before the country's first elections since US troops withdrew. (ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images)

A series of deadly coordinated attacks across Iraq on Monday killed at least 50 people and wounded nearly 300 more.

The series of attacks come only days before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for April 20, the first to be held since the US officially withdrew from the nation in 2011, and a key marker for the beleaguered nation's ability to govern itself and maintain political stability.

Read more from GlobalPost: Islamic State of Iraq claims Baghdad bombs

AFP reported that the violence struck around the busy rush hour in Baghdad, and one particularly egregious attack took place on the route to the Baghdad airport.

Fifteen people were killed in Baghdad alone, according to the Associated Press, while 14 potential election candidates were murdered, casting doubt on the upcoming elections.

Officials said over 30 bombings rocked the nation on Monday, reported Radio Australia.

Agence-France Presse said there were explosions in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmatu, Mosul and Tikrit, Samarra, Hilla and Nasiriyah, which is located to the south of Baghdad.

A drive-by shooting also took place in Tamiyah north of Baghdad, killing a police officer.

No armed group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the coordinated nature of the bombings led many to suspect that Al Qaeda might be behind the violence.

According to the AP, Iraqi officials suspect the group is gaining strength as it works with rebels across the border in Syria.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iraq/130415/dozens-dead-after-iraq-attacks-soon-elections-take-p-3