Bombs exploded at a crowded Baghdad restaurant and a near police patrol on Thursday, among attacks that killed at least 18 people and wounded 53 in Iraq’s bloodiest day in more than a month, police and hospital medics said.

Five blasts hit the capital, and the northern city of Mosul was the scene of a fatal shooting attack.

Violence has fallen in Iraq since a wave of sectarian bloodshed in 2006 and 2007, but insurgents carry out frequent attacks on security forces and civilians to undermine the Shia-led government. The violence threatens the stability of the country following the pullout of U.S. forces in December.

In northwest Baghdad, a parked car exploded outside a busy restaurant in the Shia neighbourhood of Shula, killing 13 people and wounding 37, police officials said.

Naseer Ali, owner of a grocery shop in Shula, said he was about 150 meters (yards) from the restaurant when the blast went off. Ali said he and others rushed to help the victims before the ambulances arrived.

Keywords: Iraq bomb blast

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