Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday threatened an ''open war'' against the Iraqi government unless it halted a crackdown by Iraqi and United States security forces on his followers. The spectre of a full-scale uprising by Sadr sharply raises the stakes in his confrontation with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Two car bombs killed more than 50 people in Sunni Arab areas of Iraq on Tuesday, a sudden spasm of violence in places that had been comparatively quiet while battles raged in the Shi'ite south. In one of the deadliest strikes in months, one car bomb killed 40 people and wounded 70 others in Baquba.
Gunmen kidnapped 42 university students near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday, police said, in one of the biggest mass abductions in the country in many months. ''Gunmen stopped two buses in a village south of Mosul,'' said Khalid Abdul-Sattar, police spokesperson for Nineveh province. The group was freed hours after being kidnapped.
A series of car bombs and mortar attacks killed 50 people in Iraq, police and local officials said on Saturday, while the United States military announced six soldiers had been killed in the past two days. The fresh violence follows a relatively quiet few days in Iraq, where tens of thousands of US and Iraqi troops are on the offensive against insurgents
A car bomb killed 25 people and wounded 40 on Thursday at an intersection in Baghdad where minibuses pick up and drop off passengers, Iraqi police said. In the southern city of Basra, a roadside bomb killed three British soldiers and seriously wounded another in the early hours of Thursday, the British military said.
A suicide truck bomber killed 78 people when he rammed his vehicle into a Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad on Tuesday, just hours after the United States military deployed 10Â 000 soldiers in a major offensive. The offensive around the city of Baquba in Diyala province is partly aimed at taking down al-Qaeda car-bomb networks.
The United States military said it had launched a huge offensive against al Qaeda north of Baghdad on Tuesday involving 10 000 soldiers, one of the single biggest operations since the end of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The military said that 22 militants had been killed in the early hours of the offensive, which is taking place around the city of Baquba.
Eight United States soldiers were killed in Iraq on Sunday, including six who died along with a European journalist in a roadside bomb attack north of Baghdad, the US military said. Earlier, a car bomb killed 35 people and wounded 80 next to a crowded market in a Shi'ite district of Baghdad.
A suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives killed more than 20 people when he blew himself up among mourners at a Shi'ite funeral north of Baghdad on Monday, Iraqi police said. Also, five US soldiers were killed in Iraq over the weekend, raising the number of American troops killed this month to more than 100.