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Published: Wednesday December 25, 2013 MYT 8:07:03 PM
Updated: Wednesday December 25, 2013 MYT 8:07:03 PM

Christmas bomb attacks kill 34 in Baghdad's Christian areas

People stand among debris at the site of a bomb attack at a marketplace in Baghdad's Doura District December 25, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Malik

People stand among debris at the site of a bomb attack at a marketplace in Baghdad's Doura District December 25, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Malik

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - At least 34 people were killed in bomb attacks in Christian areas of Baghdad on Wednesday, some by a car bomb that exploded near a church after a Christmas service, police and medics said.

The car bomb killed at least 24 people, most of them Christian, when worshippers were leaving the church in the Doura district of southern Baghdad, police sources said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Violence in Iraq has risen to its worst levels in more than five years as hardline Sunni militants linked to al Qaeda step up attacks on the Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and anyone seen as supporting it. Many thousands have been killed in attacks this year.

The minority Christian community has been a target of attacks by al Qaeda militants in the past, including a 2010 attack on a church that killed dozens of people.

Two bombs also went off in a crowded market in a separate, mostly Christian area in Doura, killing another ten people, police and medics said.

At least 52 people were wounded in the attacks.

A series of car bombs, shootings and suicide attacks killed scores of Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims in the week before the Shi'ite holy day of Arbaeen, which coincided with Christmas Eve this year.

(Reporting by Kareem Raheem; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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