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Three blasts kill 25 in Iraq

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
Smoke billows after a suicide car bomb targeted Al-Arabiya TV's office in central Baghdad on Monday.
Smoke billows after a suicide car bomb targeted Al-Arabiya TV's office in central Baghdad on Monday.
  • Two car bombs killed 19 people and injured 52 Monday evening
  • Six more were killed earlier Monday in a separate suicide bombing
  • At least 20 people were wounded in the suicide attack, the Interior Ministry said
  • Iraq
  • Baghdad
  • Terrorism
  • Suicide Attacks

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- At least 25 people were killed in three bombings in Iraq on Monday, authorities said.

Two car bomb explosions on a road between Karbala and Najaf killed 19 people and wounded 52, officials with the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.

Karbala police said that most of the dead and wounded were Shiite pilgrims walking on the road toward Karbala to mark the Shaabaniya holiday. Hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims will celebrate the birthday on Wednesday.

In a separate attack, a suicide bomber drove a bus into the compound of Saudi-funded al-Arabiya TV in central Baghdad, killing at least six people and wounding 20, officials said. Three of those killed were security guards, the Interior Ministry said.

Authorities are investigating how the bus, belonging to a telecommunications company, made it past security checkpoints, Qassim Atta, spokesman for Baghdad Operations Command, told al-Arabiya.

At least 10 vehicles and six buildings were damaged, including the al-Arabiya structure, officials said.

The blast also damaged the office of former Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zubaie, close to the television station's building, the ministry said.

Al-Zubaie received minor injuries and was taken to a hospital, the ministry said.

In 2007, al-Zubaie was wounded when a suicide bomber targeted his compound in a different neighborhood.

Atta said Iraqi officials obtained information three months ago that the al Qaeda terrorist network planned to attack a number of media offices, including al-Arabiya, that took a clear position against al Qaeda and terrorism.

Since then, Atta said, Iraqi authorities have deployed police patrols near a number of TV channels and other media outlets. Iraqi authorities also gave other media outlets the choice of contracting with private security companies.

U.N. officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, condemned the attack on al-Arabiya.

"The attack of this morning shows once more that an immediate response is needed through an effective agreement on the formation of a new government that will be dedicated to the protection of citizens and freedom of the press," said Ad Melkert, head of the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq.