At least 32 people killed in wave of Iraqi attacks
Militants have struck nine cities and towns in Iraq with bombings and shootings, killing at least 32 people and wounding 104, in the latest wave of deadly attacks to hit the country.
With the latest violence on Sunday, at least 252 people have been killed and 801 wounded in attacks in Iraq this month, according to an AFP tally.
Insurgents are regarded as weaker than in past years but are still able to carry out spectacular mass-casualty attacks, and have also shown they can strike heavily protected sites such as prisons, police stations and the anti-terrorism directorate in Baghdad.
Most of Sunday’s attacks were centred in Baghdad and the nearby areas of Taji, Madain and Tarmiyah, where an interior ministry official said 25 people were killed and 59 wounded, while medical sources put the toll at 28 dead and 77 wounded.
In Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed car in the central Karrada district, targeting the deputy head of police for the area, a police officer at the scene said.
The explosion scattered debris for dozens of metres from the site of the blast, shattered store windows and burned a number of cars, smashing the windows and denting the bodywork of a number of others.
A headless, limbless torso surrounded by pieces of flesh lay near the site of the explosion.
Police, most of them armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, deployed in force on the street, and a fire truck sprayed down the site of the blast.
“We were working and we heard a loud explosion, and the air changed and everything exploded,” said Firas Dawood, the owner of a shop near the site of the blast.
“What do I say about the security measures? Shit,” he said.
“I was in my shop and I heard the sound of a very powerful explosion,” said Abu Ihab, another shop owner. “Dust was everywhere.”
“We were sitting in the shop while police were collecting flesh,” he said. “Human flesh was on the footpath, being collected and put in plastic bags.”
“When the explosion happens, it does not care about any security measures,” he said. “I sit in my shop and I am afraid for my life.”
Abu Ihab soon had yet another reason to be afraid, as the blast was followed by another car bomb that hit the same area.
Gunmen also shot dead a policeman in Al-Amil neighbourhood in south Baghdad, an attack followed by a car bomb that exploded after a police patrol came to investigate, the interior ministry official said.
And a police colonel was wounded by gunmen in Mansur, western Baghdad, the ministry official and a medical source said.
Four car bombs exploded in Taji, north of Baghdad.
The first bomb exploded near a husseiniyah, or Shi’ite place of worship, in the Shi’ite-majority Al-Askari neighbourhood, followed by three others in the same area, a security official said, adding women and children were among the victims.
In Madain, south of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded near a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims, a witness said.
And two roadside bombs targeted army and police patrols in the Tarmiyah area, north of Baghdad.
A car bomb targeting a police convoy killed two policemen and wounded seven others near Baquba, north of Baghdad, while another car bomb exploded south of Baquba, killing one person and wounding seven, police and a doctor from Baquba General Hospital said.
And another car bomb north of Baquba targeting police Brigadier General Mohammed al-Tamimi wounded five people, a police colonel and the doctor said.
South of Baghdad, in Kut, a car bomb exploded near a police river patrol force station, killing a civilian and three police, including two officers, and wounding seven people, a police captain and a medical official said.
And a car bomb in the northern city of Mosul exploded near an army patrol, wounding 15 people, among them a soldier, while a roadside bomb wounded four policemen, doctors and police said.
Brigadier General Abdul Jalil al-Assadi, the police chief of Diwaniyah province, meanwhile, said two suicide bombers were arrested while trying to drive explosives-packed vehicles into the city of Diwaniyah.