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Spate of bombings in Iraq undermines stability ahead of Arab summit

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Emad Matti/AP

(Read caption) People inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday. Officials say attacks across Iraq have killed and wounded scores of people in a spate of violence that was dreaded in the days before Baghdad hosts the Arab world's top leaders.

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Bomb blasts rocked cities across Iraq today, a week before it hosts the annual Arab League summit for the first time in more than 20 years. Its role as host is intended to showcase Iraq’s stability after the US withdrawal late last year and its return to a leadership role in the Arab world at a critical time, as leaders weigh the next steps in the Syria conflict.

Among the cities targeted by today's bombings were Baghdad, the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk, the Shiite holy city of Karbala, the former Sunni insurgent hotbed of Fallujah, and Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. The bombings killed at least 36 people, according to the lowest estimates. More than 200 were wounded.

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