Wave of Iraq attacks kill 29
KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP) – A wave of attacks in Baghdad and north Iraq killed 29 people on Wednesday, officials said, as hundreds attended the funeral of a Sunni MP who died in a suicide attack a day earlier.
The violence, which struck mostly in disputed territory in north Iraq and left at least 235 people injured, was the deadliest this year.
It comes as Iraq is engulfed in a political crisis with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki facing several protests hardening opposition against his rule and calls for his ouster from many of his erstwhile government partners.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks but Sunni militants often carry out waves of violence in a bid to destabilise the government and push the country back towards the sectarian violence that blighted it from 2005 to 2008.
Wednesday’s deadliest attacks struck the ethnically-mixed city of Kirkuk, 240 kilometres north of Baghdad, where two car bombs in the same neighbourhood killed at least 16 people and wounded 190 others, according to provincial health chief Sadiq Omar Rasul.
“Both explosions inflicted massive destruction,” said police Brigadier General Sarhad Qader. “Our forces are still trying to remove corpses from the rubble (of the first attack).”
The first blast was detonated by a suicide attacker during the morning rush hour and appeared to target a compound housing local offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Kurdish regional president Massud Barzani.
A second car bomb parked on the side of a road nearby detonated shortly thereafter, apparently targeting a KDP official.
Qader said six members of Iraq’s security forces were killed and 10 others wounded in the two blasts.