December 25, 2008 / 7:37 AM / 9 years ago

Two car bombs kill seven people in Iraq

<p>An Iraqi soldier secures the site of a bomb attack in Baghdad's Shula district December 25, 2008. REUTERS/Bassim Shati</p>

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A car bomb near a popular restaurant in northwestern Baghdad killed four people and wounded 25 on Thursday, police said.

A few hours later, a suicide car bomber targeting a U.S. military patrol killed three people and wounded 14 in Muqdadiya, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, police said. The U.S. military said it was checking if there were any U.S. casualties.

The explosion near the restaurant in the Shi‘ite Baghdad district of Shula occurred while policemen and laborers were eating breakfast. Casualties included police officers and civilians, police said.

The Shi‘ite-led Iraqi government declared Thursday, Christmas Day, a national holiday to show what it said was its solidarity with minority non-Muslim religious groups in Iraq.

Violence has dropped sharply in Iraq, where the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 unleashed years of sectarian and insurgent attacks. However, car bombs, suicide bombings and assassinations are still routine.

A week ago, twin bomb blasts killed 18 people and wounded 53 in central Baghdad.

Writing by Aseel Kami; Editing by Tim Cocks and Andrew Dobbie

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