Series of deadly attacks hit Iraq

At least 23 people have been killed and scores injured in shootings and bombings in several cities and towns.

    At least 23 people have been killed and scores of others wounded in a series of attacks across Iraq.

    A total of 15 shootings and bombings struck 13 cities and towns in the north on Monday, central and south of Iraq, the officials said.

    In southern Baghdad, seven people - three women, two children and two men - were killed when three houses were blown up in the town of Mussayib, police and a medic said. Four others were wounded.

    Al Jazeera's Osama Mohammed, reporting from Baghdad, said that unknown gunmen assaulted the house of Kalid Luhaibi, National Reconciliation adviser, near Baquba city, west of Baghdad, killing a security guard and wounding two.

    In central Baghdad, a parked car bomb went off next to a tent for Shia pilgrims in Karada neighbourhood, killing five people and injuring 25 others.

    The explosion rattled nearby buildings and sent a thick plume of black smoke billowing into the air. Ambulances and police rushed to the scene in the busy downtown shopping district, and several helicopters hovered above.

    That came hours after a parked car bomb exploded in a busy street in the city of Hillah where local government offices are located, killing three people and wounding 21, another police officer said. Hillah is about 95 kilometres south of Baghdad.

    Power struggle

    Two Shia pilgrims were killed and 16 wounded in the town of Khalis, 80 kilometers north of Baghdad, when two bombs exploded simultaneously, another police officer said.

    In the town of Latifiyah, about 30 kilometres south of Baghdad, one pilgrim was killed and 11 wounded when two mortar rounds exploded nearby, another police officer said. Six doctors confirmed the casualty figures.

    All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to release information to reporters.

    Also Monday, four policemen were killed in the northern city of Kirkuk while trying to defuse a bomb the center of the city, according to police Col. Taha Salaheddin. Kirkuk is 290 kilometres north of Baghdad.

    The city is a focus of a power struggle among several sects and the Baghdad government.

    The latest attacks come amid prolonged anti-government demonstrations in mostly Sunni areas over the alleged targeting of their minority community by the Shia-led government in Baghdad, sparked by the arrest of at least nine bodyguards of finance minister Rafa al-Essawi on terrorism charges.

    Violence in Iraq is down from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks still occur almost every day across the country.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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