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Bloomberg News

Iraq Blasts Kill 27, Injure 161 Before Arab League Summit

March 20, 2012

Explosions rocked four cities across Iraq today, including a bombing near the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad where the annual Arab League summit is due to be held next week.

A total of 27 people were killed and 161 wounded in the explosions in the capital as well as in Kirkuk, Salaheddin, Karbala, Hilla and Ramadi, according to Health Ministry and police officials. The highest toll was in Karbala, where 13 people were killed and 58 others wounded, Health Ministry local spokesman Jamal Mehdi said in a telephone interview.

Baghdad is due to host the Arab League annual summit on March 29. Foreign ministers are scheduled to gather there on March 28 and economy ministers a day earlier. The meeting was postponed from last year after a wave of popular protests across the region.

The Iraqi government, which is struggling to rebuild the country’s economy and energy industry after years of conflict, has promoted the Arab summit as a sign of the return of stability. Iraq, which holds the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves, has been engulfed by violence since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted President Saddam Hussein.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khalid Al-Ansary in Dubai at; or Nayla Razzouk in Dubai at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at

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