Insurgent attacks in Iraq kill at least 46
Relatives grieve for Mohammed Ali, 18, who was killed on Friday when a suicide bomber attacked a park that was filled with people going to cafes and restaurants in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. Attacks have been on the rise in Iraq since a deadly security crackdown in April on a Sunni protest camp. More than 3,000 people have been killed in violence during the past few months, raising fears Iraq could see a new round of widespread sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Insurgents bent on destabilizing Iraq killed at least 46 people in numerous attacks scattered across the country yesterday, striking targets as varied as a coffee shop, a wedding party convoy and a carload of off-duty soldiers.
The attacks are part of a months-long wave of killing that is the country’s worst spate of bloodshed since 2008. The violence is calling into question the security forces’ ability to protect the country and raising fears that Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic divisions are pushing it back toward the brink of civil war.
One of the day’s boldest attacks happened near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where militants set up a fake security checkpoint, captured five soldiers and shot them dead, a police officer said. The soldiers were dressed in civilian clothes and were returning to base in a taxi.
Inside Mosul, other gunmen in a speeding car shot and killed a grocer, he said, though the motive was not immediately clear.
Mosul, a former insurgent stronghold, is about 220 miles northwest of Baghdad.
Another police officer said a car bomb exploded as a judge drove past in the northern town of Balad, killing three nurses and a man who had been walking nearby. Thirteen other people were wounded, including the judge, his brother and a driver, he added.
Attacks have been on the rise in Iraq since a deadly security crackdown in April on a Sunni protest camp. More than 3,000 people have been killed in violence during the past few months, raising fears the country could see an even deadlier, sectarian round of bloodshed.
Many of yesterday’s victims were civilians going about their normal business despite the rising risks.
In the town of Madain, about 15 miles southeast of Baghdad, a car bomb explosion killed four and wounded 12, another police officer said. Authorities reported that another bomb there struck a group of young people playing soccer, killing four and wounding 13.
The police said one bomb exploded near a police officer’s house, killing his 8-year-old son and wounding 11 other people. The police officer was unharmed.
Violent attacks last month claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, the highest monthly death toll in five years, according to the United Nations. More than 420 people have been killed so far in August, according to an Associated Press count.