28 Oct 2013

Spate of attacks kills dozens in Iraq

1:49 pm on 28 October 2013

More than 50 people have been killed in a wave of bombings in Iraq.

Cars rigged with explosives were blown up in the capital Baghdad and surrounding areas and a suicide bomber targeted soldiers in Mosul.

Police reported 11 vehicles exploded in mainly Shi'ite Muslim areas in and around Baghdad on Sunday, killing 41 people in an apparently coordinated series of explosions.

A further 14 people were killed when a suicide bomber drove up to a line of soldiers waiting to collect their pay from a bank in the northern city of Mosul and detonated his car.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for any of the attacks.

Killings, mostly blamed by the Shi'ite-led government on Sunni Islamists from al Qaeda, are running at daily rates not seen in five years, Reuters reports.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is to travel to Washington to seek US President Barack Obama's help in confronting the sectarian violence fuelled by Syria's civil war.

Mr Maliki, a Shi'ite who lived in exile in Iran and Syria while Saddam was in power, accuses al Qaeda and Sunni rebels fighting Syria's Iranian-backed President Bashar al-Assad of arming and aiding militants in Iraq.

He is expected to ask President Obama on Friday to speed up promised deliveries of drones and F-16 jets that he believes can help staunch the long desert border with Syria.

Insurgents linked with al Qaeda have exploited anger among Iraq's Sunni minority, which feels it has been marginalised under the Shi'ite-led government that came to power following the US-led invasion in 2003.

Iraq's security forces, trained and equipped by the US troops who withdrew in late 2011 after a nine-year occupation, have been unable to prevent a surge in violence which has taken the civilian death toll so far this year to about 7,000.