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Dozens killed or wounded as car bombs explode across Baghdad

  • Story Highlights
  • Three bombs go off in Baghdad neighborhood; one detonates at popular eatery
  • Witness tells Reuters he saw "two charred bodies of policemen inside their car"
  • Attacks come as U.S., Iranian ambassadors to Iraq prepare to meet this week
  • U.S. military announces deaths of four military personnel in weekend attacks
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A wave of car bombs targeting civilians and police in central Baghdad on Monday killed at least 16 people and wounded 40 others, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.

A U.S. soldier inspects the wreckage of a vehicle after a car bomb exploded Monday in a Baghdad neighborhood.

Three of the bombs came in the capital's Karrada district. The fourth struck Serwan, a popular restaurant near the Green Zone in Karradt Marim district, killing at least four people and seven others, a ministry official said.

Earlier, in Karrada, car bombs exploded at a supermarket and at a government facility where identity cards are issued, killing nine people, three of them police officers, the official said. The blasts also wounded 28 people.

According to Reuters, video footage showed shoppers dashing for cover past a line of burning cars on a narrow street leading to the government office. Abu Nour, a 45-year-old supermarket owner, told Reuters that all he could see was "fire, destruction and death." Video Watch smoke rise over buildings after one of the blasts »

"It was a horrible scene, suddenly fire spread all over the area. I saw two charred bodies of policemen inside their car and the wounded were lying on the ground, only their hands moving and asking for help," Nour told Reuters.

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Another car bomb struck a police patrol in the Alwiya commercial area of Karrada, killing three people, two of them police. Five others were wounded in the Monday morning attack.

The attacks came as the U.S. and Iranian ambassadors to Iraq prepare to meet this week to discuss security issues in the war-torn country, according to the White House.

The blasts also came a day after a suicide bomber struck a meeting of Sunni leaders who are allies of the U.S. and Iraqi security forces, killing five, the Interior Ministry said.

In Sunday's attacks, the bomber drove a minivan packed with explosives into a house near Taji, north of Baghdad, a ministry official said.

Other developments

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• In a Monday raid, U.S.-led coalition forces captured 12 suspected terrorists who are thought to belong to al Qaeda in Iraq, the military said. The military also announced Monday that coalition forces killed nine terrorists, arrested eight suspected terrorists and uncovered weapons caches during operations Friday and Saturday. The operations included several gunbattles and airstrikes, according to a statement.

• The U.S. military on Monday announced the deaths of four U.S. military personnel in weekend attacks in Iraq, bringing the monthly toll to 57. A Task Force Marne soldier died after being wounded in a roadside bomb attack Sunday, the military said. It was not clear if the soldier died Sunday or Monday. Another soldier was killed Saturday when a roadside bomb detonated near his Humvee outside Samarra, north of Baghdad, the military said. Two other soldiers were injured. A Marine was killed Saturday during combat operations in Anbar province, the military said. Earlier Monday, the U.S. military announced a Multi-National Corps-Iraq soldier died Saturday when a roadside bomb hit his vehicle in Baghdad. Since the beginning of the Iraq war, 3,629 members of the U.S. military have died. Seven civilian contractors also have died. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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