Attacks in Iraq Kill at Least 76 People, Officials Say
Violence comes amid a political tug-of-war between the Shiite PM and the Sunni minority
Mohammed Tawfeeq CNN
July 23, 2012BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The death toll from several attacks across Iraq rose Monday to 76, Interior Ministry officials said.
Dozens were wounded.
The deadliest attacks happened in the town of Taji, roughly 20 miles north of Baghdad, where a car bomb and four roadside bombs exploded in a residential complex, killing 32 people and wounding 43, authorities said.
In another attack, at an Iraqi military base north of Baghdad, militants armed with mortars and small arms killed at least 15 soldiers, according to the officials.
Officials said at least three people were wounded in the brazen attack on the base in the town of Dhuluiya, a one-time stronghold for Sunni supporters of former dictator Saddam Hussein about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad.
While overall attacks have dropped off in Iraq since the height of violence in 2006, insurgents have routinely targeted Iraqi security forces and civilians since the United States withdrew its troops in December.
The deadliest incident this year took place on June 13 when a bomb targeted Shia pilgrims headed to a shrine in Baghdad. It killed at least 93 people and wounded 312 others.
"They promised us that violence would end when American troops leave Iraq, but on the contrary, things are getting worse," college student Khalid Nima said, pointing a finger at the government for failing to stanch the violence. "This is not the country where I want to plan for my future."
Monday's attacks come amid a political tug-of-war between Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the Sunni minority, raising fears that the violence is a precursor to the return of sectarian violence that nearly tore the country apart at the height of the war in 2005-2006.
A series of explosions rocked the disputed, oil-rich city of Kirkuk, with three car bombs and five roadside bombs exploding in various locations, killing five people and wounding 19, the officials said.
In the Sunni-dominated province of Diyala, a motorcycle rigged with a bomb exploded at an outdoor market in Muqdadiyah, killing two people and wounding 11.
Another car bomb went off outside government offices on the edge of Sadr City, a Shiite enclave in the capital, killing 12 people and wounding 18 others, the ministry said.
Sadr City is one of Baghdad's poorest neighborhoods and is home to more than 1.5 million people.
A third car bomb exploded outside a popular restaurant in al-Husseiniya, a predominantly Shiite suburb in northeastern Baghdad, killing three people and wounding 31 others, the ministry officials said.
And in western Baghdad, a roadside bomb wounded three people, according to the officials.