Toll in Iraq explosions at 64 as police make arrests
Police Wednesday arrested 96 people in a large raid on a northern Iraqi town, as people elsewhere in the country buried and mourned the dead from a recent wave of violence.
Baghdad: Police Wednesday arrested 96 people in a large raid on a northern Iraqi town, as people elsewhere in the country buried and mourned the dead from a recent wave of violence.
Security officials said the early-morning raid took place in Salah a-Din, a town some 170 km north of Baghdad.
Police did not immediately identify those arrested or link the raid to any specific recent attack.
Also Wednesday, officials raised the death toll in a series of explosions from car bombs, suicide bombers and mortar attacks the night before to 64, with 360 people injured. The attacks targeted mostly Shiite neighbourhoods in Baghdad.
Just two days earlier, at least 52 people had been killed and more than 75 injured in the capital when Islamist militants seized a Christian church.
"These attacks are a clear attempt at inciting sectarian strife and disrupting national unity," Iraqi Premier Nuri al-Maliki said in a press statement.
Stringent checkpoint inspections led to gridlock in the streets of Baghdad for most of Wednesday, leaving many Iraqis to walk to work while numerous parents kept their children home from school.
The series of blasts Tuesday evening - around 20 in all - targeted cafes, restaurants and popular markets.
By morning, people began burying the dead, setting up tents for mourners.
Black banners with the names of victims lined the city`s streets, while dozens of residents gathered at hospitals to visit their injured friends and relatives.
The last such series of attacks took place on August 25, when there were some 20 attacks in a single day across 10 cities, killing more than 60 people.
Iraq has been facing a political stalemate since the March 7 elections failed to a produce a clear winner. The country`s political parties have yet to agree on a coalition to run the new government.