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Wave of attacks across Iraq kills dozens


More than 4,500 people have been killed since April

BaghdadBaghdad: Suicide bombings tore through a Shiite mosque south of Baghdad and the relatively safe Kurdish area in the north today as a wave of attacks killed at least 46 people across Iraq, officials said.

A surge in sectarian violence in recent months has heightened fears that Iraq is becoming a new battle field; nearly two years after US forces withdrew from the country.

A period of calm after the pullout had raised hopes for a measure of normalcy in Iraq, but tensions have spiked amid Sunni anger over perceived mistreatment from the Shiite-led government. More than 4,500 people have been killed since April.

The deadliest assault occurred when an attacker blew himself up inside a Shiite mosque during a funeral in a former insurgent stronghold south of Baghdad, prompting city administrators to criticize Iraqi security forces for failing to protect the people.

At least 25 people were killed and 40 wounded in Musayyib, about 60 kilometres south of Baghdad, according to Mohammed al-Khafaji, who heads the town’s security committee. He announced a three-day mourning period in the town.

Musayyib Mayor Qassim Raheem said the bomber was linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq and took advantage of large crowds at a funeral for victims of a roadside bombing. “The security forces don’t have sufficient intelligence, and they don’t have enough experience,” al-Khafaji said.

In northern Iraq, twin suicide car bombs killed at least six Kurdish troops and wounded 30 others in a rare attack in Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s largely peaceful self-ruled northern Kurdish region. The first blast targeted a checkpoint leading to a downtown complex housing the Interior Ministry and other security agencies.

As rescue crews and bystanders gathered at the scene, another bomber driving an ambulance attacked the area, the governor of the surrounding province of the same name, Nawzad Hadi, said, giving the casualty toll.

Regional Health Minister Raikot Hama Rasheed confirmed the figures. Gunmen then tried to storm the area, prompting a gunfight with security forces that left at least three attackers dead, he added.


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