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Iraq cafe bombings target soccer fans, killing at least 36

A series of bombings at crowded cafes in and around Baghdad have left 36 dead and dozens injured.

Iraq bombings juneEnlarge
An Iraqi policeman inspects the damage outside a supermarket in central Baghdad's commercial Karrada neighbourhood on June 25, 2013 after a car bomb exploded in the parking area the night before. (ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images)

A series of bombings targeted cafes crowded with soccer fans in and around Baghdad Thursday night, killing 36 and injuring dozens. 

Five people were killed in Azamiyah, a largely Sunni neighborhood, while another three died in Umm al-Maalif, a Shia suburb of the city. Another Shi town, Jbala, south of Baghdad, also saw a bombing that killed eight people. 

The blasts occurred in quick succession Thursday night, while fans were watching Iraq compete in a FIFA exhibition tournament match. 

The most deadly blast killed 20 people in the city of Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. After the first explosion struck a cafe, the bombers reportedly detonated a second bomb to kill those running to help the initial victims. 

On Friday, twin blasts near a checkpoint run by government-allied Sunni militiamen in Zangoura village killed at least 15 people, AFP reported.

The attacks come as Iraqi officials said they were open to more military support from the United States, which pulled out of the country in 2011. 

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey has recommended that the US step up its military support of Iraq and Lebanon in the face of the ongoing and expanding Syrian civil war, the Associated Press reported.  

"We welcome this kind of cooperation and we consider it a part of the existing agreement between us," said Ali al-Moussawi, the media adviser for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"Because of the high risks the region faces, I think there should be bigger cooperation and coordination between all countries threatened by terrorism," he added. 

Iraq is currently struggling to contain an Al Qaeda resurgence; the country has seen more than 2,000 people die in terror attacks since April, according to the AP. 

More from GlobalPost: Iraq bombings in Baghdad, Kirkuk kill 32, injure dozens more

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iraq/130627/iraq-cafe-bombings-target-soccer-fans