Bombing attacks kill dozens in Iraq
BAGHDAD – A series of coordinated bombings shattered Shiite neighborhoods and struck at Iraqi security forces Sunday, killing at least 26 in attacks that one official described as a rallying call by al-Qaida just days after dozens of militants escaped from prison.
The blasts brought September’s death toll from sectarian violence to nearly 200 people – a grim, above-average monthly total for the period since U.S. troops left last year. The steady pace of attacks has worked to undermine confidence in the government.
“The people are fed up with the killings in Iraqi cities,” said Ammar Abbas, 45, a Shiite and government employee who lives in a Baghdad neighborhood near one of the bombings. “The government officials should feel shame for letting their people die at the hands of terrorists.”
Police said the wave of explosions stretched from the restive but oil-rich city of Kirkuk in the north to the southern Shiite town of Kut, wounding at least 94 people. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but bombings are a hallmark of al-Qaida in Iraq, the Sunni insurgency that has been struggling for years to goad Shiite militias back toward civil war.
“Al-Qaida leaders have no intention of leaving this country or letting Iraqis live in peace,” said Hakim al-Zamili, a Shiite member of parliament’s security committee.
Sunday’s deadliest attack struck the town of Taji, a former al-Qaida stronghold just north of Baghdad. Police said three explosive-rigged cars in a Shiite neighborhood went off within minutes of each other, killing eight and wounding 28 in back-to-back blasts that began around 7:15 a.m. At almost the same time, in Baghdad, police said, a suicide bomber set off his explosives-packed car in the northwest Shiite neighborhood of Shula. One person was killed and seven wounded.
The blasts continued throughout the morning, petering off around noon.
Another suicide bomber drove a minibus into a security checkpoint in Kut, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad. Maj. Gen. Hussein Abdul-Hadi Mahbob said three police officers were killed and five wounded. And car bombs exploded outside the northern city of Kirkuk, the northeastern towns of Balad Ruz and Khan Bani Saad in Diyala province, and in the town of Madain outside Baghdad. In all, seven people were killed.
Also in Baghdad, a double car bomb struck the mostly Shiite neighborhood of Karradah in the most recent episode of an all-too-familiar insurgent tactic. The first explosion came as a security patrol passed, killing a police officer and a bystander, and wounding eight other people. As emergency responders rushed to the scene, the second car blew up, killing three passers-by and injuring 12, according to officials.
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