Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Scores killed in string of Iraq attacks

Violence across Iraq has killed more than 80 people, including 41 soldiers, and left scores more injured, amid the country's worst protracted period of unrest since 2008.

The bloodshed on Tuesday comes just weeks before Iraq is due to hold its first national vote since 2010, though the poll was thrown into disarray earlier when the entire electoral commission resigned over political interference.

In the deadliest attack, 22 soldiers were killed and 15 others injured in Al-Nibaee village, near Taji city, north of Baghdad.

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from the Iraqi capital, said the convoy came under intense fire and was hit by roadside bombs.

"We haven't seen an attack like this in about six to eight months," said Khan. "We don't know how many gunmen were involved in the attack.

"But it certainly must have been a significant number with the death toll we have seen."

Earlier, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near an army convoy in Taji city, leaving at least five soldiers dead and 14 others injured.
In Baghdad, nine people including six soldiers were killed when a truck laden with explosives was detonated on a bridge.

The explosion destroyed the al-Muthana bridge, which is considered strategic because it links the capital's northern outskirts to the Sunni provinces of Salah Din and Nineveh.

In the predominantly Sunni town of Tarmiyah, about 45km north of Baghdad, unknown gunmen attacked an army base killing eight soldiers and injuring 14 others.

In the mixed neighbourhood of Saidiyah, in southern Baghdad, four civilians were killed and 14 others injured when a parked car rigged with explosives was detonated.

In Buhriz, Diyala province, 33 people, including women, were executed by a sectarian militia on Tuesday, according to witnesses who spoke to Al Jazeera.

In the same province, four civilians were killed in clashes between the army and security guards belonging to members of parliament.

No group has claimed responsibility for most of the recent violence, but Sunni armed groups, including those linked to the powerful Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, are typically blamed.

More than 400 people have been killed so far this month and upwards of 2,100 since the beginning of the year, according to the AFP news agency.

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