28 Aug 2013

Wave of violence across Iraq

11:18 pm on 28 August 2013

At least 51 people been killed and dozens wounded in a series of bombings and attacks across Baghdad on Wednesday, police and medical sources say.

In one of the worst incidents a car bomb killed seven people and wounded 23 in Jisr Diyala in southeastern Baghdad.

A restaurant owner in Sadr City, a mostly Shi'ite district of Baghdad, described how a militant detonated a car bomb.

"A man parked his car in front of the restaurant. He got breakfast and drank his tea. (Then) I heard a huge explosion when I was inside the kitchen," the owner, who requested anonymity, told Reuters.

"When I went outside, I saw his car completely damaged and he had disappeared. Many people were hurt," he says.

In Latifiya, gunmen opened fire on six members of al-Sahwa - former Sunni insurgents who rebelled against al Qaeda - manning a checkpoint south of Baghdad. Gunmen also stormed a Shi'ite home in the same area, killing six family members, police and medical sources say.

In Kadhimiya, a district in northwestern Baghdad, two roadside bombs and one car bomb killed five people and wounded nearly 30.

Four soldiers were killed and five were wounded in Madaen, southeast of Baghdad, by a roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army patrol.

Sunni Muslim insurgents and the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq have significantly increased their attacks this year, Reuters reports. More than 1000 Iraqis were killed in July, the highest monthly death toll since 2008, according to the United Nations.

More than two years of civil war in neighbouring Syria have aggravated deep-rooted sectarian divisions and shaken Iraq's fragile coalition of Shi'ite, Kurdish and Sunni factions.

The renewed violence, 18 months after US troops withdrew from Iraq, has sparked fears of a return to the scale of sectarian slaughter in 2006 and 2007.