50 martyred in Bomb attacks in Iraq Shia Provinces

50SHAHEEDA wave of coordinated blasts that tore through overwhelmingly Shiite cities shortly before the breaking of the Ramadan fast and other attacks killed at least 50 in Iraq on Sunday, the latest in a surge of violence that is raising fears the country is sliding back toward full-scale sectarian fighting.

Insurgents have been pounding Iraq with bombings and other attacks for months in the country’s worst eruption of violence in half a decade. The pace of the killing has picked up since the Muslim holy month Ramadan began Wednesday, with daily mass-casualty attacks marring what is meant to be a month of charity and peaceful reflection.

The apparently coordinated bombings, which occurred in central, eastern and southern Iraq on Sunday evening, also injured scores of people.

Attacks in Iraq have killed an average of 27 people per day since the beginning of July. And Sunday was the fourth day in a row in which over 30 people have died in Iraq violence.

Sunday’s explosions struck shortly before the evening iftar meal that ends the daylong fast during Ramadan.

A car bomb near a bakery killed nine people and injured 42 in the city of Kut in eastern Iraq, while another car bomb wounded two police officers to the north of the city of Hilla.

Police reported additional car bomb explosions that left seven dead in a commercial street in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, five near an outdoor market in Nasiriyah and six near a Shiite mosque in Musayyib, and more than 60 wounded in total.

All of those attacks hit mostly Shiite communities.

In the deadliest attack, at least eight people were killed and 15 were wounded in the southern port city of Basra when a car bomb and then a follow-up blast went off near an office of a Shiite political party, according to two police officers. Basra is a major oil industry hub 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad.

No group has claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks, but officials say the main suspects are militants linked to al-Qaeda.

In other incidents, a roadside bomb struck a commercial street in the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Dora, killing four people and wounding 16 others.

Two soldiers were gunned down at a checkpoint in the restive city of Mosul, 360 kilometers northwest of Baghdad.

And a roadside bomb killed district councilor Mohammed Obaid Sultan and one of his sons in south of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province.

In another area just south of Mosul also gunmen opened fire at a security checkpoint, killing two policemen.

In Fallujah, west of Baghdad, unidentified gunmen killed police Lieutenant Colonel Iyad al-Samarraie and injured two of his guards near a mosque.

And a roadside bomb killed two people and wounded three near a restaurant, northwest of the Diyala provincial capital of Baquba.

The incidents are the latest in a string of attacks across Iraq that have left more than 2,800 people dead since the beginning of April.


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