Series of deadly attacks strikes Iraq

Daily attacks have shown no sign of abating, sparking fears that the nation is slipping back into all-out sectarian war.

    Attacks in mostly Sunni Arab areas of Baghdad as well as northern and western Iraq killed at least 18 people on Tuesday, the latest in a months-long surge in bloodletting. [AFP]
    Attacks in mostly Sunni Arab areas of Baghdad as well as northern and western Iraq killed at least 18 people on Tuesday, the latest in a months-long surge in bloodletting. [AFP]

    Armed men have assaulted a mayor's office in a Sunni town just north of Baghdad, one of several attacks across Iraq that killed 19 people, according to officials.

    Bombings also hit west Baghdad, as well as the predominantly Sunni cities of Abu Ghraib, Mosul on Tuesday.

    Nine people were killed and 17 wounded in the suicide and mortar attack on the government compound that housed the mayor's office in the town of Tarmiya, police sources told Al Jazeera.

    One attacker wearing an explosive belt blew himself up on Tuesday at the structure, which also houses the town's police station and other government offices.

    Other men shot at security guards and fired mortars at the compound, around 25 km north of the Iraqi capital.

    No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault.

    In other violence, a car bomb exploded near a car dealership in Baghdad's western neighborhood of Baiyaa, killing five people and wounding 14 others.

    Also, two people were killed and six others were wounded when a bomb exploded near an outdoor market in the capital's western suburb of Abu Ghraib, police said.

    A car bomb went off near a police station in the city of Samarra, killing two policemen and wounding eight others. Samarra is 95 kilometers north of Baghdad.

    Escalating violence

    Officials have blamed a resurgent al-Qaeda emboldened by the civil war raging in neighbouring Syria, but the government has itself faced criticism for not doing enough to address the concerns of Iraq's disaffected Sunni Arab minority.

    But Sunni Muslim insurgents have regularly hit targets linked to the Shia-led government and the army since the start of 2013, amid the country's worst spate of violence in five years.

    More than 6,200 people have been killed this year, despite numerous checkpoints in Baghdad and the near-ubiquitous presence of security forces, with attacks hitting targets ranging from cafes and football grounds to soldiers at checkpoints and government officials in their cars. 

    Some analysts fear the country could be slipping back to the levels of sectarian violence that swept it in 2006 - 2007 when it was driven to the brink of a sectarian civl war.

    Iraq has been experiencing an increasing wave of violence in the recent months has prompted the authorities to appeal for international help in combating militancy ahead of general elections due in April.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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