At least 22 killed and 50 wounded in a suicide car bomb in Baghdad

The latest violence comes less than a week after a spate of bombings in Baghdad left at least 22 on May 31, shattering a relative calm in the Iraqi capital. (AFP)

A suicide attacker blew up a bomb-packed car at a Shiite religious foundation’s headquarters in Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 22 people, and wounding 50 others, in the second major attack in the capital in days.

Two police officials said the explosives-rigged car was parked near an office for Shiite Muslim religious affairs and the city’s health department in the Bab al-Muadham area, The Associated Press reported.

Monday’s explosion damaged nearby buildings and cars. It occurred at about 11:00 a.m.

A doctor in a nearby hospital confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

Monday’s attack comes amid a dispute between Iraq’s Shiite and Sunni religious endowments over control of a landmark shrine north of Baghdad, according to AFP.

Shiite authorities had sought to take over management of the al-Askari shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad and the site of an al-Qaeda suicide attack in February 2006 that ignited the worst of Iraq’s sectarian conflict.

The latest violence comes less than a week after a spate of bombings in Baghdad left 17 dead on May 31, shattering a relative calm in the Iraqi capital.

The spike in attacks have coincided with a ratcheting up of months-long political tensions in which several political parties have called for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to be unseated.

Violence in Iraq has declined dramatically since its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common, especially in Baghdad. A total of 132 Iraqis were killed in violence in May, according to official figures.

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