Scores Killed, Wounded in Attacks Across Iraq on Monday
A wave of deadly attacks swept across Iraq Monday, killing dozens of people. The violence was so severe that the interior minister ordered the country's security forces to clear the streets of all parked cars.
In the southern city of Kut, a bomb blew up inside a busy market. As rescue teams arrived to help the victims, another bomb hidden inside a parked car exploded. At least 30 people died in the twin blasts.
In the holy city of Najaf, a suicide car bomber crashed his vehicle into a checkpoint outside a police building. Officers opened fire on the vehicle when the driver refused to stop, and then the vehicle exploded, killing two officers and two civilians.
Nearly a dozen explosions were reported in Diyala, claiming the lives of six people and wounding another 29. Several blasts also occurred in Baghdad, killing at least one person and injuring a dozen more. At least eight people died when a suicide car bomber attacked a municipal building in Khan Bani Saad, about 20 miles northeast of the capital.
Two more bombers attacked in the Salahuddin province, killing three security officers, including a high-ranking counterterrorism officer. In Tikrit, car bombs blew up outside of a government building and a church. At least five died.
A car bomb blast next to a police patrol injured at lease four officers in the northern city of Kirkuk. About half an hour later, one civilian died when a bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded. The attacks in Kirkuk occurred just hours after four bombs blew up near a Syrian Orthodox Church late Sunday. No injuries were reported, but the church sustained some damage.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, Lt. Col. Hachem Neama Abbas, an Iraqi army commander in Baghdad, told The Washington Post that the military had been bracing for a new round of violence.
"This wave of explosions and attacks is evidence that al-Qaeda is still effective," he said.
The US military is supposed to leave Iraq by the end of the year, but continued violence is making both governments reconsider the move. Earlier this month, Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters in Baghdad that US troops could extend their stay, but only if the Iraqi government granted them immunity from prosecution. Currently, 46,000 American troops are serving in country.