A string of car bomb attacks in Baghdad has killed 17 people, deepening fears of an increase in violence as sectarian tensions simmer in Iraq.
Violence raked Baghdad on Monday as an Iraqi general took charge of the security operation in the capital and Iraqi police and soldiers manned new roadblocks -- initial steps indicating the start of the long-anticipated joint operation with American forces to curb sectarian bloodshed. But bombers, gunmen and mortar teams appeared undaunted.
Gunmen stormed a bus station north-east of Baghdad on Wednesday and seized 24 people, killing all but four of them, authorities said. An Iraqi general said the victims were Shi'ites, but police said their identities were unclear. The gunmen arrived in several cars at the bus station in Muqdadiyah at about 6am.
Sunni-led insurgents killed six Iraqi police at a checkpoint on Friday and fired a mortar round that struck a home outside the capital, killing a mother and child, as Shi'ites began celebrating a major Muslim holiday. Meanwhile, in a statement posted on an Islamic website, al-Qaeda in Iraq threatened more attacks on diplomats in the country.
Iraq's leading Sunni Muslim clerics said on Wednesday the landmark elections lack legitimacy because large numbers of Sunnis did not participate in the balloting -- which the clerics had asked them to boycott. Meanwhile, the Mosul police chief has demanded that insurgents hand over weapons within two weeks.
At least 47 people were killed in a massive car bomb blast outside the main police headquarters in Baghdad on Tuesday, leaving a trail of carnage and chaos in a bustling area of the Iraqi capital. Meanwhile, 12 Iraqi policemen and their driver were killed and two others wounded when gunmen sprayed their vehicle with bullets in Baquba.
A car bomb exploded on Tuesday at an Iraqi National Guard checkpoint outside the city of Baqouba, killing at least four guardsmen and wounding six others, Iraqi authorities said. Earlier on Tuesday, a roadside bomb attack killed a local police chief and another officer in Baghdad.