BAGHDAD (AP) — Violence across Iraq, including a series of car bombings and fighting between militants and government troops over control of the country's contested Anbar province, killed at least 20 people Saturday, officials said.
The bombings struck neighborhoods around the capital, Baghdad. A car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the western neighborhood of Mansour, killing four people and wounding 12, police said. Another exploded near a bus station in eastern Baghdad, killing four people and wounding six, authorities said.
A car bomb went off in a commercial street of the Jamia neighborhood in western Baghdad, killing two people and wounding 13, officials said.
Another car bomb exploded near a juvenile prison in Toubchi district in western Baghdad, killing three persons and wounding 16, including some guards, police said. Some prisoners escaped following the blast and authorities later sealed the area to search for the inmates.
Earlier in the day, police said a bomb exploded inside a market in Baghdad's Madain area, killing three people and wounding nine. A double bombing near a market in the northern city of Kirkuk also killed one person and wounded 15, police said.
Medical officials confirmed the death tolls for the attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.
Violence has escalated in Iraq over the past year, particularly since late last month after authorities dismantled an anti-government Sunni protest camp and arrested a Sunni lawmaker on terrorism charges in Anbar province. To alleviate the tension, the army pulled back, but that allowed al-Qaida militants to seize control of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, the provincial capital.
Iraqi security forces and allied Sunni tribesmen have been trying to recapture the overrun territories. Overnight clashes in Fallujah between soldiers and the militants killed three people, hospital officials said.