Dozens killed in Iraq bombings

Thursday 15 August 2013 22.51
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The scene of a car bomb in Baghdad's eastern neighbourhood of Baladiyat is inspected
The scene of a car bomb in Baghdad's eastern neighbourhood of Baladiyat is inspected
The heavily fortified Green Zone houses Western embassies
The heavily fortified Green Zone houses Western embassies

Car bomb attacks have killed at least 34 people in Iraq.

More than 100 people were wounded in at least eight blasts.

Police sources said one bomb exploded 200-300 metres from Baghdad's international zone, close to Iraq's Foreign Ministry.

Four people died and 12 others were wounded.

The central zone is a highly-fortified area housing Western embassies including the US mission, and the nearby Iraqi ministry has been a frequent target of attacks.

Today's car bombs targeted districts in central, eastern, northern and southern Baghdad, including Shia areas, police said.

Five people died when a bomb exploded near a traffic police station in Baladiyat, in eastern Baghdad, crushing the roofs of nearby vehicles.

In the al-Shurta al-Rabaa district, a bomb on a tractor trailer carrying gas cylinders killed four people.

In Husseiniya, on the capital's northeastern outskirts, a minibus exploded in a repair shop, killing three, police said.

The Interior Ministry has said it would not allow al-Qaeda, which it blames for a surge in sectarian violence, to turn Iraq into another Syria.

In a statement, it said: "Iraq's streets have become a battleground for sectarian people who are motivated by hatred and religious edicts and daring to kill innocent people.

"It is our destiny to win this battle which is aimed at destroying the country and turning it into another Syria," the ministry said.

Mainly Sunni Muslim rebels have been fighting for more than two years to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite minority support base is a branch of Shia Islam.

Sunni Muslim militant groups, including al-Qaeda, have stepped up their insurgency against Iraq's Shia-led government in the past four months, raising fears of a return to full-blown sectarian conflict 18 months after US troops left.

Since the start of the year, attacks using multiple car bombs have become an almost daily occurrence.

Bombers at the weekend targeted families celebrating the end of the Muslim fasting period of Ramadan.

Each of the past four months has been deadlier than any in the last five years, dating back to when US and government troops were engaged in battles with militiamen.

The government has launched a security sweep to try to round up suspected militants and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said yesterday the crackdown would continue.

Keywords: baghdad, iraq