Added At: 2012-04-19 10:57 PM
Last Updated At: 2012-04-19 10:57 PM
BAGDAD: Bombers struck several areas in Baghdad and north Iraq today, killing at least 37 people.
The violence stoked fears that insurgents were trying to undermine confidence in the Shiite-led government amid rising sectarian tensions. Officials said extremists launched 12 attacks in the Iraqi capital and in the cities of Kirkuk, Samarra, Baqouba, Dibis and Taji. Mortars were fired into the northern cities of Beiji and Tikrit, but no injuries were reported.
Nearly 100 people were wounded in the rapid-fire explosions that unfolded over an hour and 15 minutes. Half of the bombs struck at security forces and government officials.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but Baghdad military command spokesman Col Dhia al-Wakeel said they resembled those carried out by al-Qaida.
The strikes marked the first major attacks in Iraq in nearly a month, although ongoing political battles between the Shiite-led government and top Sunni and Kurdish officials have threatened to inflame simmering sectarian disputes.
Iraq’s Sunni Vice President, Tariq al-Hashemi, is wanted on terror charges that he says are politically motivated, and Kurdish regional leader Massoud Barzani has compared the government in Baghdad to a dictatorship. Aides to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, have dismissed the criticism as baseless.
The single deadliest bombing today came in Dibis, near Kirkuk. Police Brig Gen Sarhad Qadir said a parked car exploded in the Sunni Arab village, killing six and wounding four.
Sunni lawmaker Hamid al Mutlaq blamed the blamed the political wrangling for what he called “Iraq’s deteriorating security. “We hold responsible all the government security forces and the leaders of the political process for today’s attacks,” he said.
In the Diyala provincial; capital of Baqouba, a car exploded in a residential area killing one and injuring 13. Within two hours, bombs cropped up across Baghdad, killing eight.
Baghdad police said roadside bombs and car explosions targeted security patrols and the nation’s top health official, Health Minister Majeed Hamad Amin, who was not hurt in the attack, but according to police two passers-by were killed and six were wounded.
A suicide bomber blew up the car he was driving in Samarra at a checkpoint manned by the Sunni security militia that was created to help US forces fight al-Qaida. Five militiamen were killed and eight wounded in the suicide attack.