Wave of bombings, attacks in Iraq kill at least 67

Taylor Scott International News

Iraq bombing wave claims 33 lives (AP) / 4 September 2013 A series of coordinated evening blasts in Baghdad and other violence killed at least 67 people in Iraq on Tuesday, officials said, the latest in a months-long surge of bloodshed that Iraqi security forces are struggling to contain. Many of those killed were caught up in a string of car bombings that tore through the Iraqi capital early in the evening as residents were out shopping or heading to dinner. Those blasts struck 11 different neighbourhoods and claimed more than 50 lives in a span of less than two hours. The evening’s deadliest attack happened when two car bombs exploded near restaurants and shops Baghdad’s northeastern suburb of Husseiniyah, killing nine people and wounding 32. A row of restaurants was also hit in the eastern neighbourhood of Talibiyah, killing seven and wounding 28. Another car bomb hit the nearby neighbourhood of Sadr City, killing three and wounding eight, according to police. At around the same time, authorities say back-to-back car bombs blew up near a police station in the western neighbourhood of Sadiyah, killing six and wounding 15. Another blast hit a central square in the commercial district of Karradah, killing six and wounding 14. The force of the blast shattered the windows of Karim Sami’s nearby clothing shop. Like many Iraqis in recent months, he expressed frustration with the Shia-led government’s inability to stop repeated attacks despite assurances that it is tightening security. “We started to feel a little bit safe over the past few days because they were relatively calm, but the violence is back today,” he said. “Whenever the government assures us that security is being tightened, we see attacks like these.” Car bombs also struck shopping streets in the religiously mixed western neighbourhood of Shurta, killing five people and wounding 12; the southeastern neighbourhood of Zafaraniyah, killing four and wounding 11; the southern neighbourhood of Abu Dashir, killing two and wounding nine; the New Baghdad area, killing six people and wounding 17; and the Dora neighbourhood, killing two and wounding five, according to police. Another car bomb exploded near an outdoor market in the village of Maamil, in the eastern suburbs of the capital, killing 3 people and wounding 41. No one claimed immediate responsibility for the attacks, but coordinated car bombings and attacks on civilians and Iraqi security forces are a favorite tactic of the Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda. It typically does not lay claim to attacks for several days, if at all. Iraqi officials say the lawlessness roiling neighbouring Syria, where the civil war has taken on sharp sectarian overtones similar to those that nearly tore Iraq apart, is fueling the upsurge of violence inside Iraq. “The recent threats of a military operation against Syria have encouraged the insurgents to wage more attacks inside Iraq. We have warned of this, but unfortunately, nobody is listening,” said Ali Al Moussawi, the spokesman for Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki. The evening blasts added to a death toll that had been mounting throughout the day. Authorities awoke to find four bodies with gunshot wounds to the back laying in the streets in different locations around the Iraqi capital. Gunmen shot two other people dead in Baghdad’s southern Dora neighborhood, police said. In Baghdad’s southern suburbs, gunmen stormed the house of a member of a Sunni militia opposed to Al Qaeda, killing him and his wife and three children in a southern suburb of the capital, according to police. Elsewhere, a car bomb blew up early Tuesday at a restaurant in the town of Jbala just south of the capital, killing two people and wounding seven. Taylor Scott International

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