Wave of bombings in Baghdad kills 27 people: police, medics
In the first explosion, a suicide car bomber drove into a police checkpoint, killing nine people including seven policemen and wounding 21 people in the Abu Dsheer district in the south of the capital, the sources said.
Four other car bombs killed a total of 19 people: one in the Bayaa district in southwestern Baghdad, one in the western district of Jihad and two in northern Baghdad's Kadhimiya, the site of a major Shi'ite shrine.
No person or group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that seized large parts of northern Iraq last month, has claimed several suicide bombings in the capital. Its latest claim was for a bombing that killed three people on Thursday in the heart of the city.
Baghdad has experienced few attacks compared with other areas targeted by the Islamic State's offensive last month, though bombs still hit the capital on a fairly regular basis.
The U.N. said more than 1.2 million people have been displaced this year. More than 600,000 of them have fled their homes since early June.
The patchwork of Sunni insurgents led by Islamic State, which swept across northern Iraq last month, advanced to within 70 km (45 miles) ofBaghdad. The Iraqi army and allied Shi'ite militia have been trying since then to regain the territory.
SISTANI, U.N. ENVOY MEET
Intense fighting has raged for days northwest of Tikrit around a military base known as Camp Speicher, once one of the main U.S. headquarters. Islamic State wrote on an affiliated Twitter feed on Thursday it had shot down two helicopters during a battle around the base.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's military spokesman said on Saturday that government forces were fully in control of the base.
The fighting has exacerbated a political crisis in Baghdad, where Maliki is trying to form a new government in the face of opposition from Sunnis, Kurds and some fellow Shi'ite politicians, three months after Iraq's parliamentary election.
Iraq's Shi'ite clergy as well as Western powers have pressed politicians to overcome their deadlock and agree on a unity government to tackle the insurgency and prevent Iraq from splitting down ethnic and sectarian lines.
Sistani, an ascetic 83-year-old of almost mythological stature to his followers, has taken his most active role in politics in a decade during the current crisis.
He has demanded politicians choose a new government without delay and urged fighters to respect the rights of all Iraqis, regardless of sect or politics, after an escalation in apparent sectarian killings in recent weeks.
“We are in full agreement with His Eminence (Sistani) on the need to expedite the government formation process and form a new government that is acceptable to all communities," said Mladenov after the meeting.