Blast targets Iraq wedding party

Explosions in the district have been common in the past months
At least 15 members of a wedding party, including three children, have died in a car bomb attack in the Iraqi capital.

At least 27 people, including the bride and groom, were also injured in the blast on Thursday evening in a southern Shia district of Baghdad.

The explosion occurred in front of a photo studio in Abu Dshir where the wedding party gathered for pictures.

An official at Yarmouk hospital, where the victims were taken, said the newlyweds escaped with minor injuries.

Several nearby shops and businesses were badly damaged in the blast.

Abu Dshir is a Shia enclave in Baghdad's lawless, mainly Sunni, neighbourhood of Dora.

US 'surge'

Across Baghdad a total of 24 unidentified bodies were also found by Iraqi police on Thursday.

Bombings and sectarian killings in the area have been common in the past months leaving hundreds of people dead or wounded.

The latest incident comes amid a major military operation by US and Iraqi forces in the Baghdad area aimed at curbing sectarian unrest.

Some 30,000 extra US troops have now been deployed to Iraq to try to reduce the violence.

Popular markets have been walled off, streets closed and the number of checkpoints have been stepped up in a bid to thwart car bomb attacks.