Blasts shake Baghdad hotel area

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Three powerful explosions near Baghdad hotels used by foreign media have killed 11 people, police in the Iraqi capital have said.
The explosions near the Palestine and Sheraton hotels in the city centre were caught on camera, one of them sending up a huge plume of smoke and dust.

A BBC correspondent says the bombers may have chosen the hotels to ensure maximum publicity for the blasts.

At least one of the bombs appears to have been placed in a car, police said.

The Associated Press news agency, which has offices in the Palestine Hotel, said at least five people had been injured.

The explosions were followed by heavy gunfire.

Gun attack

Gunmen shot dead 12 builders in an attack elsewhere in Baghdad.

All 12, including five brothers, were shot in the head and chest in the attack near Musayyib.

The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Baghdad says it is an area that has seen many attacks and growing sectarian tensions.

A foreman who was with the killed labourers was kidnapped by the gunmen.

Police said they have detained one of the site's contractors, a Sunni, for questioning.

The incident took place about 25km (16 miles) from the village where five Shia primary school teachers were killed last month.

Police in Baghdad said they had discovered in the last 24 hours the bodies of seven people, including three women, dumped in and around the city.

Two people were also killed in a suicide car bomb attack near an Iraqi police patrol in Baghdad's north-eastern district of Shaab on Monday.
 
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