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Bombs in Northern, Central Iraq Kill 6, Injure 41

Thursday, 16 Aug 2012 05:06 AM


BAGHDAD — Six people were killed and at least 41 were wounded in five separate bombings in central and northern Iraq early Thursday, authorities said, in the latest wave of relatively small but recurrent strikes by militants seeking to undermine the government.

More than 100 people have been killed in violence across the country since the start of the month, showing that insurgents remain a lethal force eight months after the last U.S. troops left the country.

Thursday's carnage began with a predawn attack against the house of a military officer. Militants planted four bombs around his house near the northern city of Kirkuk, according to the city's police commander Brig. Gen. Sarhad Qadir. The officer escaped unharmed, but his brother was killed and six other family members were wounded.

Hours later, a bomb in a parked car exploded near a string of restaurants, killing one and wounding 15, Qadir said. The blast seriously damaged the eateries' storefronts, scattering shattered glass and debris across the sidewalk.

Another parked car bomb targeting a police patrol followed, injuring two policemen and two civilian bystanders.

Kirkuk, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad, is home to a combustible mix of Kurds, Sunni Arabs, and Turkomen. They all claim rights to the city and the oil-rich lands around it.

In Baghdad's northeastern and mostly Shiite neighborhood of Husseiniyah, a parked car erupted in an explosion that killed three people. Eight others were injured, two police officers said. The target was unknown.

Just north of the capital, in the Sunni city of Taji, yet another parked car bomb went off next to a passing police patrol, killing one person. Eight people, including police and civilian bystanders, were wounded, two other policemen said.

Health officials in nearby hospitals confirmed the causality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information to journalists.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Thursday's attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida's Iraq branch. It has declared its aim to reclaim areas from which it was routed by the United States and its local allies.

Thursday's attacks came a day after militants staged attacks in northern Iraq that left 13 people dead, including 10 killed when bombs exploded shortly before the sunset meal that ends the daylong fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

The al-Qaida offshoot, known as the Islamic State of Iraq, has for years had a hot-and-cold relationship with the global terror network's leadership.

Both shared the goal of targeting the U.S. military in Iraq and, to an extent, undermining the Shiite government that replaced Saddam Hussein's regime. But al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri distanced themselves from the Iraqi militants in 2007 for also killing Iraqi civilians instead of focusing on Western targets.

Generally, al-Qaida in Iraq does not launch attacks or otherwise operate beyond Iraq's borders. But in early 2012, al-Zawahri urged Iraqi insurgents to support the Sunni-based uprising in neighboring Syria against President Bashar Assad, an Alawite. The sect is a branch of Shiite Islam.

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2012-06-16
Thursday, 16 Aug 2012 05:06 AM
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