Wave of attacks in Iraq kill 41

Insurgents in Iraq unleashed a wave of attacks from before dawn until late in the evening on Thursday, killing 41 people and wounding dozens.

By (AP)

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Published: Fri 17 Aug 2012, 1:47 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:55 PM

The bomb and shooting attacks made for the country’s deadliest day in more than three weeks, rattling nerves as families prepared to gather for a holiday weekend. More than 130 people have been killed in violence across the country since the start of August, showing that insurgents led by al-Qaeda’s Iraqi franchise remain a lethal force eight months after the last U.S. troops left the country.

Three of the attacks accounted for more than half of the casualties.

A morning car bomb in Baghdad’s northeastern and mostly Shia neighborhood of Husseiniyah killed seven people and wounded 31.

Around midday, another car bomb struck near the headquarters of local security forces in the northern city of Daqouq. As police rushed to the scene, a roadside bomb exploded, killing seven policemen. Another 35 people were hurt, police said.

Then, shortly before sunset, gunmen in cars opened fire on an Iraqi army checkpoint near the town of Mishada, killing seven soldiers and wounding eight. Mishada is 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Baghdad.

Iraqi officials are tightening security ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan this weekend. Authorities are seeking to thwart a possible upsurge in violence as crowds gather in public places such as parks, shrines and mosques to mark the occasion.

“Our security forces have received intelligence that terrorist groups are planning and preparing for attacks during and after Eid,” said Abdul-Karim Tharib, head of the Baghdad provincial council security committee. “We ... have taken all necessary measures to foil any terrorist activities during Eid.”

An interior ministry official said security measures for the holiday will include an increased number of checkpoints and road closures near government offices, parks and shrines. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release details of the security preparations.

Thursday’s carnage began when militants planted four bombs around the house of a military officer near the northern city of Kirkuk, according to the city’s police commander, Brig. Gen. Sarhad Qadir. The officer escaped unharmed, but his brother was killed and six other family members were wounded.

Hours later, a bomb in a parked car exploded near a string of restaurants, killing one and wounding 15, Qadir said. The blast seriously damaged the eateries’ storefronts, scattering shattered glass and debris across the sidewalk.

Another parked car bomb blast targeting a police patrol followed, wounding two policemen and two bystanders. A couple hours later, two car bombs exploded simultaneously in a Kirkuk parking lot near a complex of government offices in the city’s north, injuring four people.

Kirkuk, 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad, is home to a combustible mix of Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Turkomen. They all claim rights to the city and the oil-rich lands around it. Daqouq, the site of the midday blast, is about 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) south of the city.

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