Iraq surge of violence kills nearly 30

An Iraqi soldier inspects the wreck of a car bomb after it exploded in the military zone of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.Photo / AFP
An Iraqi soldier inspects the wreck of a car bomb after it exploded in the military zone of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.Photo / AFP

Attacks across Iraq killed at least 27 people on Friday, with the deadliest incident a suicide bombing at a cafe in the north that killed 18, police and medics said.

The suicide bomber struck in the city of Kirkuk as people thronged the streets after the iftar meal that breaks the fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

At least 18 people were killed in the explosion and 28 wounded in the blast at the cafe in the Wahad Hozeran district, said police and Dr Sabah Mohammed Amin, the city's health chief.

The attacker, wearing an explosives belt, blew himself up at 10.20 pm (local time).

The Kirkuk explosion came after attacks mainly targeting security forces killed nine people, including a police brigadier general, earlier on Friday a day after 56 people died in bombings and shootings.

Iraq is experiencing a surge in violence across the country where more than 2,500 people have been killed this year, including more than 275 this month alone.

Analysts point to widespread discontent among the minority Sunni community, and the Shiite authorities' failure to address their grievances, as the main factors driving the increase in violence.

Gunmen shot dead Brigadier General Sabri Abed Issa on his way to a mosque near Sharqat, northwest of Baghdad, while others killed a retired policeman outside his home in Muqdadiyah, northeast of the capital.

In the northern city of Mosul, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle at a police checkpoint, killing four policemen and wounding two more.

A magnetic "sticky bomb" also killed a civilian in Mosul, while a roadside bomb south of the city killed a policeman and wounded another.

And a "sticky bomb" killed an anti-Al-Qaeda militiaman and wounded another person near Baquba, also north of the capital.

Friday's attacks came a day after a wave of violence killed 56 people, 31 of them members of the security forces.

In Thursday's single worst incident, gunmen shot dead 11 police charged with protecting the country's vital oil infrastructure and three soldiers on the road between Haditha and Baiji, northwest of Baghdad.

In another attack, a car bomb ripped through a funeral tent where family members of a Shiite man were receiving condolences in Muqdadiyah, northeast of Baghdad, and a suicide bomber detonated explosives when emergency personnel arrived.

Sunni militants including those linked to Al-Qaeda frequently target members of Iraq's Shiite majority, whom they regard as apostates.

Iraq was plagued by sectarian violence that killed tens of thousands of people in past years, and there are persistent fears that tensions will again boil over into all-out conflict.

Violence in the country has declined from its peak at the height of the sectarian conflict in 2006 and 2007, but the number of deaths in attacks has been rising since January.


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