Iraqi PM seeks world's help against violence

Nouri al-Maliki calls for support in the fight against what he described as terrorists, amid raging violence.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has called for international support in the fight against what he described as terrorists, amid raging violence across the country.

    Bomb attacks and shootings killed at least 75 people in Iraq on Wednesday, police and hospital sources said, making it one of the bloodiest days in months.

    "The battle will be long and will continue," Maliki said on state television. "If we keep silent it means the creation of evil statelets that would wreak havoc with security in the region and the world."

    Analysis: Resurgence of violence in Iraq a "blowback" of the Syrian civil war.

    His comments on Wednesday came amid a series of bloody attacks.

    In the deadliest incident, a bomb blew up in a funeral tent where mourners were marking the death two days ago of a Sunni Muslim pro-government fighters, police said. 

    It killed 18 people and wounded 16 in Shatub, a village south of Baquba.

    In northwestern Iraq, assailants detonated roadside bombs near a bridge in Ain al-Jahash, 60 km south of Mosul as an army patrol was crossing it. Six soldiers were killed and eight people were wounded, six of them civilians, police said.

    Gunmen killed seven truck drivers, kidnapped two and set three trucks ablaze in the mainly Shia district of Maamil in Baghdad's eastern outskirts, police said.

    Highest levels

    Two years after US troops left Iraq, violence has climbed back to its highest levels since the Sunni-Shia bloodshed of 2006-2007, when tens of thousands of people were killed.

    The army is locked in a standoff with Sunni fighters who overran Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad, more than two weeks ago in a challenge to Maliki's Shia-led government.

    Maliki has ruled out an assault on Fallujah by the troops and tanks ringing the city of 300,000, but has told local tribesmen to expel al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has exploited anger among minority Sunnis against a government they accuse of oppressing them.

    Al Qaeda loyalists are pursuing a relentless campaign of attacks, mostly aimed at security forces, Shia civilians and Sunnis seen as loyal to the Shia-led government.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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