Bombs hit NCF stomping ground

Car bombs exploded in the parking lots of two heavily fortified five-star hotels in central Baghdad late on Thursday, killing at least 10 people, police and medical sources said.

A further 30 people were wounded in the blasts, which were around seven minutes apart.

The first bomb targeted the Babylon hotel, where government officials often hold meetings and news conferences, and the second hit the Meridian, located adjacent to the much more heralded Palestine Hotel which hosted numerous delegations from the London-based Next Century Foundation during the years of the Coalition occupation of Iraq.

Iraqi authorities lifted a decade-old night-time curfew on Baghdad early this year, seeking to restore a sense of normality to the capital as security forces battle Islamic State militants who have overrun large parts of the country.

But the rate of bombings in Baghdad has increased since then.

Insurgents seized the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, on May 17 in the most significant military setback to the government since a US-led coalition launched a campaign of air strikes against Islamic State last August.

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