A Iraqi soldier stands guard on a street in the central Shiite Muslim shrine city of Najaf on June 14, 2014
A Iraqi soldier stands guard on a street in the central Shiite Muslim shrine city of Najaf on June 14, 2014 © Haidar Hamdani - AFP/File
A Iraqi soldier stands guard on a street in the central Shiite Muslim shrine city of Najaf on June 14, 2014
AFP
Last updated: September 10, 2014

Blasts kill seven as Kerry visits Baghdad

Bomb attacks killed 19 people in Baghdad on Wednesday as US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the Iraqi capital for talks on combatting jihadists, officials said.

They said a suicide car bombing followed by a car bomb struck near a police checkpoint in a crowded area of eastern Baghdad, also wounding at least 52 people.

At least two of the dead were policemen.

There was no immediate claim for the attack but suicide bombings are a hallmark of Sunni extremists, including those from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

IS-led militants overran swathes of Iraq in June, and security forces, Shiite militias and Kurdish fighters have been battling to regain ground.

The US began an air campaign against IS in Iraq on August 8, mainly in support of Kurdish forces in the north, though American warplanes have also carried out limited strikes in Salaheddin and Anbar provinces.

Kerry's previously unannounced visit in Baghdad was the first stop on a regional tour to build support for a new US strategy, which he has said will only work with the backing of the "broadest possible coalition of partners around the globe."

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