Death toll rises in Iraq weekend violence

At least 70 people killed and more than 150 injured in a series of attacks across Iraq over the last two days.

    Bombings and shootings in Iraq have killed at least 13 people, as the death toll from a co-ordinated wave of late-night car bombings and other attacks the day before jumped past 70, authorities said.

    The explosions were the latest in a relentless surge in bloodshed that has rocked Iraq since the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan on July 10.

    The deadliest of Sunday's attacks came in the afternoon, when gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by the Kurdish security forces known as Peshmerga near Kirkuk, killing five Peshmerga fighters.

    The oil-rich city of Kirkuk is 290km north of Baghdad.

    Saturday night's blasts went off after the sundown "iftar" meal that breaks the daily Ramadan fast.

    Streets during the holy month are often filled with people out shopping and relaxing in cafes in the evenings, suggesting the attackers aimed to hit as many civilians as possible.

    Series of car bombs

    As the scale of the carnage became clearer early on Sunday, police reported that a total of 11 car bombs went off in Baghdad late Saturday.

    Two morning bomb attacks on the outskirts of Baghdad killed six people, Iraqi authorities said.

    Police and hospital officials said Sunday's attacks included a blast in a market in the town of Taji that killed four and wounded 15.

    Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf reports from Baghdad

    Another bomb exploded outside the house of a local Sunni leader in the town of Basmaiya, killing two and wounding four.

    Those attacks on Sunday and others around Iraq on Saturday killed at least 70, according to police and hospital officials.

    That made for the country's deadliest day since May 17, when a series of explosions in Sunni areas in and around Baghdad killed at least 76 people.

    There has been no claim of responsibility for the latest attacks, although co-ordinated bombings against Shia Muslims are a favourite tactic of al-Qaeda's Iraq branch.

    The blasts on Saturday struck in the neighbourhoods of Jididayh, Karrada, Baiyaa, Shurta, Tobchi and Zafaraniyah, the majority of which are predominantly Shia Muslim, according to police.

    They said the explosions were all caused by car bombs parked in commercial streets.

    The Saturday bombings came a day after a suicide bomber killed 20 people inside a crowded Sunni Muslim mosque north of the capital.

    More than 2,700 people have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of 2013, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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