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Wave of attacks kills 56 in Iraq

Salam Faraj

A series of more than 25 attacks across Iraq have killed 56 people and wounded over 250 others with security forces and markets among the targets.

The latest violence brings the number of people killed in attacks so far this month to 86, according to an AFP tally based on the sources. (Reuters)

The latest violence brings the number of people killed in attacks so far this month to 86, according to an AFP tally based on the sources.

In the deadliest attack on Sunday, two car bombs exploded in a market near the shrine of Imam Ali al-Sharqi in southern Iraq, a security official said.

Dr Ali al-Alaa, a Maysan province health department official, said the blasts killed 14 people and wounded 60.

Before midnight on Saturday, gunmen opened fire on an army checkpoint near Balad north of Baghdad and a roadside bomb exploded when additional soldiers arrived at the scene.

Eleven soldiers, including two officers, were killed and eight others wounded, an army colonel and a medical source at Balad hospital said.

A police captain was also shot dead on Saturday night in the town of Garma, security and medical officials said.

Early on Sunday, a car bomb exploded in a parking lot at the rear gate of state-owned North Oil Company, 15km from the northern city of Kirkuk, killing seven people and wounding 17, police and Dr Othman Abdul Rahman said.

Deserted streets
The victims were lining up to seek employment with a force that guards oil facilities, a police officer said.

In Kirkuk itself, two bombings killed three people and wounded 70 others, police and Dr Mohammed Abdullah said.

The blasts left body parts strewn in the streets, destroyed cars and damaged government buildings, an AFP correspondent said.

The streets were deserted after the attacks.

A car bomb seriously wounded six soldiers west of Kirkuk, according to army Captain Taha Khalaf, while another in Hawija, also west of the city, wounded two people, security and medical sources said.

Volatile, oil-rich Kirkuk province is part of a swathe of disputed territory in northern Iraq that the autonomous Kurdistan region wants to incorporate over opposition from Baghdad.

Three soldiers were killed in clashes with insurgents in Abu Ghraib area, west of Baghdad, an interior ministry official and a medical source from Abu Ghraib hospital said.

Car bombing
Three car bombs exploded in Taji, north of the capital, killing one person and wounding at least seven others, while five roadside bombs exploded in and around Baquba, killing a soldier and wounding 17 others, security and medical officials said.

In the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, a sniper shot dead a soldier, army Captain Saadun al-Mohammedi and Dr Hamed Iyad from Fallujah hospital said.

In Nasiriyah, 305km south of Baghdad, a bomb exploded at around 9am (6am GMT) near a French honorary consulate, causing material damage and wounding an unspecified number of people, a French diplomat said.

The city's website put the toll from the bombing at one dead and one wounded.

The foreign ministry in France said in a statement that it "condemns with the greatest firmness the attacks in several Iraqi cities since yesterday which have killed more than 50 people and led to hundreds being wounded."

Meanwhile, a car bomb exploded in front of a hotel in Nasiriyah, killing two people and wounding two others, according to Nasiriyah hospital head Ahmed Abdul Saheb and a security source.

Police wounded
Attacks in Tuz Khurmatu, 175km north of Baghdad killed four people, including a police captain, and wounded 31 others, mayor Shalal Abdul and police Lieutenant Colonel Khaled al-Bayati said.

In the southern port city of Basra, a car bomb in a market killed three people and wounded at least 20 others, police and a medical official said.

In Tal Afar 380km northwest of Baghdad, a car bomb explosion killed two people and wounded seven, police First Lieutenant Abed Ghayib and Dr Waad Mohammed from Tal Afar hospital said.

South of Samarra, a city north of Baghdad, another car bomb killed two police, including Colonel Thair Idris, and wounded two others, a police lieutenant colonel and a medical source said.

And a car bomb in Mosul wounded seven civilians, while three police were wounded by another car bombing west of the city, according to security and medical officials.

Violence in Iraq is down significantly from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common and killed 278 people in August, according to an AFP tally based on reports from security and medical officials. – Sapa-AFP

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