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30 Iraqis Killed in Attacks on Saturday, 34 Killed on Friday

July 19-20, 2013

Site of a Baghdad bombing, July 20, 2013  

Deadly car bombs kill dozens in Baghdad

A coordinated wave of car bombs tore through Baghdad on Saturday night, killing at least 30 people and wounding dozens, police said, reviving fears that Iraq may sink once again into full-blown sectarian bloodshed.

By News Wires (text) - AFP  

France 24, July 20, 2013

Multiple car bombings in predominantly Shi’ite districts of Baghdad killed at least 30 people on Saturday, police and medics said, the latest in a series of attacks that threaten to sink Iraq once again into full-blown sectarian conflict.

Most of the attacks struck in busy commercial areas where people had gathered to shop and socialise after breaking their daily fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The deadliest explosion took place in the northern neighbourhood of Tobchi, where 10 people were killed when a car bomb exploded in a busy commercial street.

“I was standing near my shop with friends when we saw a parked car that aroused our suspicions. We shouted for the driver, but no-one answered” said shopkeeper Said Mohammed Murad.

“Minutes later, the car blew up, smashing shopfronts and throwing passers-by like toys. All that was in front of me was fire, smoke, dead bodies, and wounded people crying for help.”

Another car bomb exploded in a commercial street in the Karrada neighbourhood, killing at least four people. There were further blasts in Zaafaraniya, Muwasalat, al-Shurta and New Baghdad.

It was unclear who was behind the blasts. Sectarian tensions in Iraq have been inflamed by the civil war in neighbouring Syria, which has drawn in Shi’ite and Sunni fighters from Iraq and beyond to fight on opposite sides of the conflict.

Sunni insurgents, including the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq, have been recruiting from Iraq’s Sunni minority, which resents Shi’ite domination since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

“The terrorists are now using different tactics that aim to cause higher casualties among civilians,” said an interior ministry official on condition of anonymity.

More than 535 people have been killed in militant attacks in July so far, according to violence monitoring group Iraq Body Count.

That is still well below the peak of sectarian bloodletting in 2006-07, when the number of people killed in militant attacks sometimes exceeded 3,000 in one month.

In the town of Madaen, about 30 km (20 miles) southeast of Baghdad, a bomb planted in the garden of a Sunni government-backed “Sahwa” militia fighter killed five people, police said.

“Sahwa” members are often targeted by Sunni insurgents in revenge for cooperating with the Shi’ite-led government.


34 killed, 101 wounded in Iraq's deadly attacks

BAGHDAD, July 19, 2013 (Xinhua) --

A series of violent attacks, including deadly bombings at mosques, across Iraq on Friday, killing 34 people and wounding 101 others, as the country struggles to contain the worst violence since 2008.

The deadliest attack occurred in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala when a bomb hidden under the podium of the Imam went off in the crowded Abu Bakr al-Sideeq mosque during the weekly Friday Muslim prayer, killing up to 26 worshippers and wounding some 80 others, according to the latest police report.

The attack took place in Wajihiyah, a small Sunni town located some 25 km northeast of Diyala's provincial city of Baquba, which itself is about 65 km northeast of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Earlier in the day, the police said that a civilian was killed and two wounded when a bomb planted in his shop detonated in the city of Maqdadiyah, some 40 km northeast of Baquba, while a soldier was wounded in a roadside bomb explosion near his patrol in Buhruz area, some 10 km south of Baquba.

Sectarian tension and reprisal killings have been running high recently between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the volatile province of Diyala, as Sunnis and Shiites accuse each other of supporting extremists and militiamen.

In a separate incident, a policeman foiled a suicide bomb attack when he spotted a suicide bomber trying to enter a Shiite mosque in the town of Jbala, some 50 south of Baghdad, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity

The policeman prevented the suicide bomber from approaching the mosque, forcing him to blow up his explosive vest outside the mosque, which killed the policeman and wounded five worshippers, the source said.

In the early hours of the day, the police said that two women were killed and two wounded when a mortar round landed on their house in al-Mahlabiyah area, in west of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad.

Late on Thursday, unidentified gunmen broke into a house in Ur neighborhood in the eastern part of Baghdad and shot dead three women before they fled the scene, the police said.

In a separate incident, 11 young men playing football were wounded on Thursday night when two mortar rounds hit a football pitch in western Samarra city, some 120 km north of Baghdad, the police added.

On Friday morning, gunmen shot dead a shop owner at his shop in Nahrawan area in southeastern part of Baghdad.

Iraq is witnessing its worst eruption of violence in five years, raising fears that the latest bloodshed is leading the country back toward a full-blown civil conflict that peaked in 2006 and 2007, when the monthly death toll sometimes exceeded 3,000.

Editor: Mu Xuequan

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