42 killed in new wave of Iraq violence

42 killed in new wave of Iraq violence
Fri Jul 26, 2013 09:12:52

At least 42 people have been killed and dozens more wounded in in a new wave of bombings and shootings across Iraq.

The deadliest attack Thursday happened when a bomb exploded inside a crowded cafe north of Baghdad, killing 16 diners and wounded 20 others.

Iraqi police said that the blast targeted Noufel cafe near the town of Muqdadiyah, about 90 kilometers north of Baghdad.

An hour later, a bomb went off inside another cafe near Baghdad, killing two people and wounding six, authorities said. Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figures.

During Ramadan, cafes in Iraq become quite crowded as people gather there to break the daily fast. Extremists have targeted crowded cafes this year.

In the northern city of Beiji, 250 kilometers north of Baghdad, militants shot dead three off-duty soldiers as they were leaving a restaurant, provincial health official Raed Ibrahim said. The soldiers were on their way to Baghdad from Mosul.

And in the city of Kirkuk, a parked car bomb targeted a passing police patrol on Thursday morning, critically wounding six policemen, police Col. Salah Abdul-Qadir said. Kirkuk is 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad.

Also, police said gunmen using pistols fitted with silencers shot dead four people, including two street cleaners, in three separate incidents in Baghdad.

Thursday night, a bomb exploded during a small wedding party held in a house in Baghdad's Amiriyah neighborhood, killing three people and wounding 16 others, including some women and children, police and hospital officials said.

Militants grew bolder in their attacks as well. Insurgents outside the village of Sarha launched mortar rounds at a nearby military base and bombed a communication tower to distract security forces.

Then they quickly set up a fake checkpoint on a nearby highway to stop passing vehicles, said Col. Hussein Ali Rasheed, the police chief in nearby Tuz Khormato, about 200 kilometers north of Baghdad.

The corpses of 14 Shia drivers and passengers in a convoy of trucks caught at the checkpoint, all of them Shiites, were later found, each killed by gunshot wounds to the head, Rasheed said.

More than 550 people have been killed in violent attacks so far this month, as violence continues during the holy month of Ramadan.

Violence in Iraq has reached levels not seen since 2008, fueling worries of a return to the widespread sectarian killing that pushed the country to the brink of civil war after the 2003 US-led invasion. More than 3,000 people have been killed since April. Ramadan this year is shaping up to be the bloodiest since 2007, with more than 350 Iraqis killed since the holy month started on July 10.


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