Monday, December 31, 2012

Iraq Attacks Death Toll Reaches 22 In One Day

Iraq attacks death toll reaches 22 in one day

Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:15PM GMT

Nearly two dozen people have been killed and over 80 others wounded in a wave of attacks in several cities and towns in Iraq, police and medical sources say.

A total of 15 shootings and bomb attacks struck 13 cities and towns across the country on Monday. At least 22 people were killed.

Three women, two children and two men were killed and four others were wounded in bombings targeting three houses in the town of Mussayib, south of the capital, Baghdad.

A roadside bomb in Kirkuk killed five policemen.

Four people died in a car bombing in Baghdad. One person was killed in Latifiyah and another died in an attack in Tuz Khurmatu.

Attacks in the cities of Hilla and Mosul killed two people each.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Bombings and shootings have recently intensified across Iraq.

On December 24, at least 48 people were killed and over 110 others wounded in similar attacks targeting both security guards and civilians across the country, marking the deadliest day in Iraq since November 29, when at least 50 people lost their lives.

The Iraqi government has stepped up efforts to increase security across the country over the past few months.

Attacks kill 16 across Iraq as sectarian tensions grow

From Mohammed Lazim , For CNN
Mon December 31, 2012

Iraqis throw stones after protesters attacked Iraq's deputy premier Saleh al-Mutlak on Sunday, December 30.

Baghdad (CNN) -- At least 16 people were killed and dozens were injured in attacks across Iraq Monday amid an apparent uptick in sectarian tensions.

Most of the attacks targeted Shiites, including bomb blasts that injured pilgrims traveling to shrines just days before a religious celebration.

Four Shia pilgrims were killed and six were injured when a car bomb exploded in Baghdad's Karrada district, Iraq's Interior Ministry said.

And four Shia pilgrims were injured when three car bombs exploded simultaneously in the town of Balad Rouz, said Muthana Altimimi, head of the security and defense committee in Diyala province.

Thursday will mark 40 days after Ashura, which commemorates the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson. Shiite pilgrims often mark the occasion by traveling to shrines.

Violence also erupted outside Baghdad. Seven people were killed and four were injured after their houses were bombed in the city of Mussyab, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the Iraqi capital, the Interior Ministry said. It was unclear who was responsible for the blast or why the houses were targeted.

Monday's attacks come amid rising sectarian tensions, as tens of thousands of Sunni demonstrators nationwide protest what they say is second-class treatment by Iraq's Shiite-led government.

Sunnis largely boycotted Iraq's 2005 elections, leading to the emergence of a Shiite-led government. The move left the once-ruling minority disaffected, which contributed to years of bloody insurgency and sectarian warfare.

The arrest of a group of bodyguards for Iraq's Sunni finance minister fueled a surge in protests last week in Ramadi, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, and in several other Iraqi cities.

At least five people were injured Sunday when bodyguards for a top Iraqi official opened fire on stone-throwing Sunni demonstrators, the country's Interior Ministry said.

The clashes broke out after Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, who is Sunni, arrived to address crowds protesting in a plaza in Ramadi.

In the wake of the protests, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has defended his government.

"Nobody in Iraq has privilege over others," he said Friday, calling for increased dialogue.

"When we want to express an opinion, we have to do it in a civilized, humane and patriotic manner," he said. "It is not expected to express your opinion by cutting off roads, steering strife and sectarianism, fighting, bragging about wars and dividing Iraq."

CNN's Yousuf Basil and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report from Atlanta.

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