AFP reports: A wave of violence swept across Iraq, with 111 killed on the country’s deadliest day in two-and-a-half years, after al-Qaeda warned it would seek to retake territory and mount new attacks.
Officials said at least 235 people were also wounded in 28 different attacks launched yesterday in 19 cities, shattering the relative calm that had held in the lead-up to the start of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
The violence drew condemnation from the United Nations special envoy to Iraq, the country’s parliament speaker and neighbouring Iran, while Washington slammed the attacks as “cowardly”.
In the deadliest incident – a string of roadside bombs and a car bomb followed by a suicide attack targeting emergency responders in the town of Taji – at least 42 people were killed and 40 wounded, medical officials said.
“I heard explosions in the distance so I left my house and I saw a car outside,” said 40-year-old Taji resident Abu Mohammed, who added that police inspectors concluded the vehicle was a car bomb.
“We asked the neighbours to leave their houses, but when they were leaving, the bomb went off.”
Abu Mohammed said he witnessed the deaths of an elderly woman carrying a newborn baby and of the policeman who had first concluded the car was packed with explosives.
A row of houses was completely destroyed and residents were rummaging through the rubble in search of victims and their belongings.
In Baghdad a car bomb outside a government office responsible for producing identity papers in the Shi’ite bastion of Sadr City killed at least 12 people and wounded 33 others, security and medical officials said.