Dawn News

String of blasts kills 32 in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Sept 30: Coordinated bomb attacks killed more than 32 people across Iraq on Sunday, the latest violence in an insurgency the government has failed to quell more than nine months after the last US troops withdrew.

Violence in Iraq has eased since the carnage of 2006-2007, but Islamists still launch frequent attacks to undermine the government’s claim to provide security and prove they remain a potent threat.

No group claimed responsibility for Sunday’s string of attacks, but a local Al Qaeda affiliate and other Islamist groups have carried out at least one major assault a month since the last American troops left in December.

In Taji, 20km north of Baghdad, bombs in three parked cars went off separately, killing 11 people and wounding 24, including several policemen. Taji has one of Iraq’s largest military airbases but the bombing hit a civilian neighbourhood.

Reuters footage of the scene of one of the explosions showed the remains of an exploded car surrounded by several completely and partially destroyed houses and cars.

“A car bomb entered the area and no one ... noticed this. Why did that happen? All the houses were destroyed,” said Khaidar Abas, owner of one of the damaged homes.

In Baghdad, three separate bombs killed eight people, including a police officer.

In the city of Kut, 150km southeast of Baghdad, a suicide bomber driving a car blew himself up, killing four policemen, police and local officials said.

Another attack targeted a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims as it passed through the town of Madaen, about 30km southeast of Baghdad. Two passers-by were killed.

Two more policemen were killed when a car bomb went off in the town of Balad Ruz, 90km northeast of Baghdad, and bomb planted in a parked car in Al Qaeda stronghold Mosul killed a civilian.

Further attacks around the country killed a further four people and left scores wounded.

The last major attacks occurred on Sept 9 when a series of bombs in mainly districts killed more than 100 people across the country.

Al Qaeda’s local wing, the Islamic State of Iraq, recently said it was launching a new offensive against mainly Shia targets.

The conflict in Syria has also helped inflame Sunni-Shia tensions region wide, not least in Iraq, where a return to sectarian slaughter is a real risk.

Since the last US troops left, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government has been politically deadlocked and insurgents have continued to strike, hoping to ignite the kind of sectarian tensions that drove Iraq close to civil war in 2006-2007.—Reuters


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