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Iraqi police aborts car bomb attempts in Shia Muslim cities

(WITH MIL-IRAQ-EXPLOSIONS) BAGHDAD, Dec 15 (KUNA) -- Iraqi security authorities aborted terrorist attacks aimed at Shia Muslim pilgrimages heading towards the southern Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala.
Police detachmennts inspected two booby-trapped cars in both cities, made arrests and seized four mobile phones believed to be used to detonate the bombs, an interior ministry statement said.
A series of three car bombs in central Baghdad has killed at least four people and wounded about 14 earlier in the day on Tuesday.
The blasts occurred outside the heavily fortified Green Zone near the Iranian embassy, the foreign ministry, and a popular restaurant.
There has been a recent upsurge of violence in the city. A week ago, at least 127 people were killed in multiple car bombings.
Analysts say al-Qaeda is trying to destabilise Iraq ahead of March polls. (end) mhg.bz KUNA 151149 Dec 09NNNN