Iraq: Car bombs in Baghdad 'kill 26'

Civilians inspect the site of a bomb attack in the Jihad neighbourhood in Baghdad, 19 July 2014 Five blasts hit the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Saturday

A series of car bombs in the Iraqi capital have killed at least 26 people, police and medical officials say.

Five bombs went off across Baghdad on Saturday, with three blasts reportedly taking place in less than 10 minutes.

The mostly Shia neighbourhood of Abu Dashir was hit, as were the districts of Baiyaa, Jihad and Kadhimiya.

Iraq is experiencing an upsurge in instability. The government is battling Islamist militants, who have seized cities in the country's north-west.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Christians are fleeing the northern city of Mosul after militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) threatened to kill them unless they converted to Islam or paid a "protection tax".

The deadliest blast on Saturday hit Abu Dashir when a car bomb rammed into a police checkpoint, killing at least seven, officials said.

Civilians inspect the site of a bomb attack in the Jihad district in Baghdad, 19 July 2014 Jihad district was one of the four attacked on Saturday
Residents gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad, 19 July 2014 The blasts killed at least 26 people and injured several others

The later blasts killed at least 19 people. The Kadhimiya neighbourhood was hit by two separate car bombs. No group has said it carried out the attacks.

Isis militants seized Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, in June.

They have since taken over areas of the north-west and closed in on cities near Baghdad.

The current conflict in Iraq has acquired strong sectarian overtones, with disputes between the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shia.

The Shia-led government is struggling against predominantly Sunni Isis fighters, and other Sunni rebel groups.

Map showing areas under ISIS operational control

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