At least 64 killed in spate of attacks in Iraq
The violence highlighted militant attempts to sow havoc in the country and undermine the government.
Baghdad: In the latest string of attacks in Iraq, insurgents killed at least 64 people launching attacks against Iraqi security forces on Sunday.
Insurgents shot dead soldiers at an Army post and bombed police recruits waiting in line to apply for jobs, officials said.
The violence spanned across at least 11 cities across Iraq.
The attack signals the militants’ motive to wreak havoc in the country and undermine the government.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, although security forces are a frequent target of al Qaeda`s Iraqi franchise, which has vowed to reassert itself and take back areas it was forced from before US troops withdrew from the country last year.
Today`s deadliest attack, gunmen stormed a small Iraqi Army outpost in the town of Dujail before dawn, killing at least 10 soldiers and wounding eight more, according to police and hospital officials in the nearby city of Balad, some 80 kilometers north of Baghdad. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information.
Hours later, a car bomb struck a group of police recruits waiting in line to apply for jobs with the state-run Northern Oil Co. Outside the northern city of Kirkuk.
City police commander Brig Gen Sarhad Qadir said seven recruits were killed and 17 wounded. He said all the recruits were Sunni Muslims and blamed the early morning attack on al-Qaeda, but did not provide details.
The carnage even stretched into the country`s south, where bombs stuck to two parked cars exploded in the Shiite-dominated city of Nasiriyah, 320 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Baghdad. The blasts were near the French consulate and a local hotel in the city, although the consulate did not appear to be a target of the attack.
Al Qaeda`s Iraq franchise, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq, has for years had a hot-and-cold relationship with the global terror network`s leadership. The two shared the goal of targeting the US military in Iraq and, to an extent, undermining the Shiite government that replaced Saddam Hussein`s regime.
But al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri distanced themselves from the Iraqi militants in 2007 because their attacks also killed Iraqi civilians instead of focusing on Western targets.
A string of smaller attacks Sunday also struck nine other cities, including Baghdad.
In the capital`s eastern Shiite neighborhood of Husseniyah, roadside bombs killed a policeman and a passer-by, security and health officials said. Another eight people — including four soldiers — were wounded, the officials said.
The rest of the attacks were car bombs that hit cities stretching from the southern port city of Basra, Iraq`s second largest, to the city of Tal Afar northwest of Baghdad near the Syrian border.
The blast in Basra killed three people and wounded 24, while the bomb in Tal Afar killed two passers-by and wounded seven, officials said.
A pair of car bombs in southern Maysan province killed five people and wounded 40 outside a Shiite shrine to Imam Ail al-Sharqi, said the holy site`s director, Ammar Abdullah.
A roadside bomb in Taji, just north of Baghdad, left two passers-by dead and 11 injured, and explosions in the Sunni towns of Hawija and Ar Riyad, outside the flashpoint city of Kirkuk north of Baghdad, wounded seven people.
In Tuz Khormato near the city of Kirkuk, some 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad, a car bomb outside of a market killed four and wounded 41 people, said Salahuddin provincial health director Raeed Ibrahim. And in Kirkuk itself, Qadir said three midmorning explosions — two car bombs and a roadside bomb — killed seven and wounded about 70.
With Agency Inputs