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Fuel tanker explosion kills 50 at Baghdad gas station

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Dozens killed and wounded in afternoon blast in western Baghdad
  • NEW: Deadly blast follows earlier bombing near ice cream shop
  • The bomb in a four-wheel drive vehicle went off in a bustling commercial area
  • Karrada has been hit by a string of bombs in the past 10 days
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A fuel tanker packed with explosives detonated at a gas station Wednesday, killing at least 50 people and wounding 60 others in western Baghdad, the Interior Ministry said.

Ten cars were burned in the early afternoon blast in the Mansour district of the capital.

Earlier Wednesday, at least 15 people were killed and 20 others were wounded when a suicide car bomb exploded in a busy square in Baghdad's Karrada district, the Interior Ministry said.

The explosion took place near a popular ice cream shop and electronic stores in a commercial area.

Karrada, on the eastern side of the Tigris River, is normally one of the more stable areas in the Iraqi capital but has been hit by a string of bombs in the past 10 days.

A parked car bomb killed 25 people and wounded 115 last Thursday, three days after three separate bombs killed another 13 people in the same district.

U.S. and Iraqi forces have stepped up security operations in Baghdad since mid-February in an attempt to stem bombings, many of them blamed on al Qaeda, the Sunni Islamist group that U.S. officials say is trying to spark a full-scale civil war in Iraq.

Operations have also been expanded in other parts of the country after Washington sent an extra 30,000 troops in an attempt to buy time for the Iraqi government to meet a series of political benchmarks aimed at promoting national reconciliation. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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