Car bombs kill nearly 80 in Iraq, target festivities

Iraqi security forces inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Nasiriyah city, 375 km (233 miles) south of Baghdad. Credit: Reuters
Iraqi security forces inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Nasiriyah city, 375 km (233 miles) south of Baghdad.
Credit: Reuters

A series of car bombs in mainly Shi’ite areas of Baghdad killed 57 people and wounded more than 150 on Saturday, in what appeared to be coordinated attacks on people celebrating the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The 12 separate blasts targeting markets, busy shopping streets and parks where families like to mark Eid were part of a surge in sectarian violence in Iraq since the start of the year.

This has been one of the deadliest Ramadan months in years, with regular bomb attacks killing scores of people, especially in the capital. The latest bombings were similar to attacks in Baghdad on Tuesday in which 50 died.

More than 1,000 Iraqis have been killed in July, the highest monthly death toll since 2008, according to the United Nations.

The Interior Ministry has said the country faced an “open war” fuelled by Iraq’s sectarian divisions and has ramped up security in Baghdad, closing roads and sending out frequent helicopter patrols.

Eighteen months since the last U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq, Sunni Islamist militants have been regaining momentum in their insurgency against the Shi’ite-led government, and have been emboldened by the civil war in neighboring Syria.

On Saturday, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan said his region was prepared to defend Kurds living in neighboring Syria, in what appeared to be the first warning of a possible intervention and a further sign that the conflict is spilling over Syria’s borders.

Outside Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a car on a busy street in the town of Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (105 miles) north of the capital, killing at least 10 people and wounding 45, medical and police sources said.

Tuz Khurmato is located in a particularly violent region over which both the central government and autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan claim jurisdiction.

Police believe the bomber was trying to reach the local headquarters of a Kurdish political party, but was unable to reach the building because of increased security in the area, a police source said.

In the town of Nassiriya, 300 km (185 miles) southeast of Baghdad, twin car bombs near a park killed six people and wounded 25, police and medical sources said.

Pictures showed metal shop fronts contorted by one of the blasts, with blackened scraps of debris littering the ground. Two tires on an axle were all that was left of one of the cars used in the attack.

Car bombs also hit the Shi’ite city of Kerbala, killing four and wounding 11, and targeted a Shi’ite mosque in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing one worshipper and wounding five.

Tensions between Shi’ite, Kurdish and Sunni factions in Iraq’s power-sharing government have been rising, and the renewed violence has sparked fears of a return to the sectarian slaughter of 2006-2007.

Iraqis have endured extreme violence for years, but since the since the start of 2013 the intensity of attacks on civilians has dramatically increased, reversing a trend that had seen the country grow more peaceful.

In recent months insurgents have moved beyond attacking shopping districts to targeting youths playing football and people watching matches on television at the Baghdad cafes which have dared to stay open.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.