Four car bombs struck two outdoor markets in predominantly Shiite areas of Iraq today, killing at least 31 people and wounding dozens at a time of mounting discontent among minority Sunnis. The bombings in Baghdad and a town south of the capital were the latest attacks by suspected Sunni insurgents trying to re-ignite sectarian violence and undermine the Shiite-led government. The bombings targeted an outdoor pet market in Baghdad's northern Kazimyah neighborhood and a vegetable market in the Shiite town of Shomali in Hillah province.
In Baghdad, the first car bomb exploded around mid-morning at the entrance to the Kazimyah market, police said. When panicked shoppers tried to flee the area, a second parked car exploded a few yards away, according to the officers, who said at least 17 people were killed and 45 were wounded. About an hour later, two car bombs exploded simultaneously at the Shomali market, killing at least 14 people and wounding 26, police said. A recent spike of particularly lethal insurgent attacks comes amid anti-government Sunni protests; tens of thousands rallied today in western and northern Iraq.