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Multiple Explosions Reported in Iraqi Shrine City of Karbala

Multiple explosions in the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala have reportedly killed at least nine people and left dozens of others injured.

Four explosions were reported in quick succession, with one reportedly taking place outside a government building used for issuing passports and identity cards.

Alaa Hammudi, the head of the Karbala health department, said nine people died as a result of the bomb blasts and 99 others were wounded.

Other reports have put the death toll as high as 16. No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Karbala, a major Shi'ite holy city some 80 kilometers southwest of the capital Baghdad, has often been attacked in the past by Sunni Islamist extremists.

Sectarian violence in Iraq has eased in recent years, but insurgents tied to Al-Qaeda and Shi'ite militias still carry out daily attacks as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw at the end of this year.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said on September 24 that his country's security forces are capable of taking over security responsibilities after the American withdrawal.

compiled from agency reports