Baghdad: Insurgents launched attacks against security forces and civilians in central and northern Iraq today, killing at least 30 people and wounding dozens, officials said.
Shiite mosques in Baghdad were main targets, along with a city claimed by squabbling ethnic groups in a disputed northern region. The conflicts threaten the stability of Iraq following the final pullout of US military forces nearly a year ago.
Car bombs exploded near three mosques shortly after nightfall in the capital, killing 21. Police and hospital officials said the first exploded near a Shiite mosque following evening prayers in the Hurriyah neighbourhood, killing nine worshippers and wounding 20 others. Minutes later, another car bomb went off near Gaereat mosque, killing five people.
Later, police said a third car bomb exploded, killing seven Shiite worshippers and wounding 21 others in Shula neighbourhood in northern Baghdad.
Ali Habib, a taxi driver, said he was driving near the Shiite mosque in Hurriyah when he heard a loud explosion. He rushed to the blast site and helped take wounded to the hospital.
"The scene was horrific, with people screaming for help," he said. "Such attacks bring back memories of the darkest days of sectarian strife that took place several years ago in Iraq."
In the north, a police officer said three bombs in parked cars exploded simultaneously in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, the largest city in the area claimed by several ethnic groups in a dispute with the central government in Baghdad.