35 killed in wave of bombings across Iraq
BAGHDAD – At least 35 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in a wave of bomb attacks on Iraqi cities, including capital Baghdad, stoking fears of sectarian violence in the country that is trying to return to normalcy.
Besides Baghdad, the blasts were also reported in the cities of Baquba, Kirkuk, Samarra, Dibis and Taji.
Three car bombs exploded in Baghdad, mainly in Shiite areas, killing 15 people and wounding 61, officials said.
In Kirkuk, two car bombs and three roadside bombs aimed at police and army patrols killed eight people and wounded 26.
The attacks took place over a period of an hour-and-a-half. The convoy of Health Minister Majeed Hamad Amin was also targeted, but he was not hurt.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attacks
Colonel Dhiya al-Wakeel, a spokesman for the Baghdad operations command, told state-owned Iraqiya TV that the attacks bore the hallmarks of Al Qaeda.
“They want to send a message that they can target the stability that has been achieved recently,” he said. “This will not discourage our security forces.”
Though there have been small blasts in recent days, it was the bloodiest day in Iraq since the March 20 bomb blasts that killed at least 52 people.
Iraq has seen heightened tension between Shi’ites, Sunnis and Kurds in the coalition government following the withdrawal of US troops in December last year.