A car bomb killed 17 people and injured 25 others outside a restaurant in a Shi'ite neighbourhood in southern Baghdad on Thursday, Iraqi police said. Among the victims were women and children who were part of a group accompanying a newly wed couple. According to Reuters, the couple were in a nearby photographic shop having their pictures taken when the parked car went up in the suburb of Abu Dshir, police said.
Police also said they had found 24 bodies in Baghdad on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki wants his soldiers to take over security in the southern province of Basra from British forces within three months, his office said on Thursday. Maliki made the comment to new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a telephone conversation on Thursday, the Iraqi leader's office said in a statement.
"Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki confirmed the intention of Iraq's forces to assume the security file of Basra within three months," the statement said. Maliki voiced his hopes that after three months, British troops would only play a supporting role.