Scores Killed in Recent Wave of Car, Suicide Blasts in Iraq
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A barrage of car bomb and suicide bomb blasts rocked Baghdad and two northern Iraqi communities Thursday, killing at least 61 people during a major holiday period and extending a relentless wave of bloodshed gripping the country.
The bulk of the blasts struck in mainly Shiite Muslim parts of the Iraqi capital shortly after nightfall, sending ambulances racing through the streets with sirens blaring. Authorities reported nine car bomb explosions across Baghdad, including one near a playground that killed two children.
It was the deadliest day in Iraq since Oct. 5, when a suicide bombing targeting Shiite pilgrims and other attacks left at least 75 dead.
Thursday's bloodshed began early in the morning when a suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden car among houses in an ethnic minority village in northern Iraq. That attack, in the Shabak village of al-Mouafaqiyah near the restive city of Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, killed at least 15 and wounded 52, police said.
The United Nations envoy to Iraq condemned the attack and said rising violence in Ninevah province requires "urgent action and strengthened security cooperation" between regional authorities and the central government.
"The United Nations pays particular attention to the protection of minority communities who continue suffering from heinous attacks (and) economic and social barriers," envoy Nickolay Mladenov said.
Another suicide bomber struck hours later, setting off an explosives belt inside a cafe in Tuz Khormato, killing three and wounding 28, police chief Col. Hussein Ali Rasheed said, AP reported.
The town, a frequent flashpoint for violence, sits in a band of territory contested by Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen about 200 kilometers (130 miles) north of Baghdad.
The attacks struck as Muslims around the world this week mark the religious holiday of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice. The holiday marks the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim — or Abraham, as he is known in the Bible — to sacrifice his son in accordance with God's will, and is often a time for family celebrations and outings.
The Baghdad explosions went off in quick succession after sunset as families were heading out to parks, coffee shops and restaurants, police said.
Back-to-back car bombs exploded about two blocks apart in the mainly Shiite neighborhood of Husseiniyah, killing a total of 11 and wounding 22, authorities said.
Other mainly Shiite neighborhoods hit were the southeastern New Baghdad, where four died and 12 were wounded, and the eastern Sadr City, where a car bomb near a playground killed five, including two children, and wounded 16, officials said. Another car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the northeastern Shiite neighborhood of Gareat, killing seven and wounding 14, authorities said.
Elsewhere, a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a police checkpoint in the southern district of Dora, killing five people, including three police officers, and wounding nine, authorities said.