BAGHDAD, (Xinhua): Up to 43 people were killed and 86 wounded in attacks, including suicide bombings, across Iraq on Friday, amid growing tension that threatens to bring the country back to sectarian strife.
The deadliest attack occurred in the evening in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad when a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest blew himself up at a park crowded with families in al-Qahira district, killing 28 people and wounding up to 50 others, an Interior ministry source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, gunmen shot dead four people in Baghdad’s northern district of Adhamiyah, the source said.
In northern Iraq, a suicide truck bomber blew up his explosive- laden truck into the entrance of a police headquarters in Bab Sinjar area in western Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, killing two policemen guarding the site and wounding 12 people, a local police source anonymously told Xinhua.
In a separate incident, a booby-trapped car went off near an Iraqi army patrol in the town of Qaiyara, some 50 km south of Mosul, killing a soldier and wounding three people, the source said.
Also in Mosul, a bomb planted in the house of a soldier in northern Mosul detonated in the evening, wounding the soldier’s wife and two of his sons, the source said, adding that the soldier himself escaped unharmed as he was not at home during the attack.
Earlier in the day, the police said that unidentified gunmen at dawn broke into a house in the city of Dujail, some 60 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, and shot dead a man, his wife and his mother, and wounded two of his sons, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
In Baghdad, a roadside bomb went off at noon near a Sunni mosque during the weekly Friday prayer in the mix Shiite and Sunni district of Jihad in the southwestern part of the capital, killing two worshippers and wounding five others, an Interior Ministry source anonymously told Xinhua.
In a separate incident, a civilian was killed and five others wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in Baghdad northern district of Adhamiyah, the source said.
Meanwhile, a civilian was killed and his son wounded when gunmen opened fire on their car in western Baghdad, the source added.
Elsewhere, a civilian was killed and four others were injured when a roadside bomb detonated in Baghdad southern suburb of Arab Jubour, he said.
In addition, three mortar rounds struck the house of a government-backed Sahwa paramilitary group leader in Abu Ghraib area, some 25 km west of Baghdad, damaging his house and wounding one of his sons, a local police source said.
The Sahwa militia, also known as the Awakening Council or the Sons of Iraq, consists of armed groups, including some powerful anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent groups, who turned their rifles against the al-Qaida network after the latter exercised indiscriminate killings against both Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities.
Observers see that the security situation in Iraq began to deteriorate on April 23 after security forces cracked down on a Sunni Arab protest camp in Iraq’s northern city of Hawijah, killing and wounding dozens of protestors.
The crackdown in the city sparked fierce clashes across the country’s predominantly Sunni provinces between the Sunni tribes and the security forces.
Overall levels of violence by insurgent groups have since escalated and become audacious, as waves of massive bombings and almost daily attacks left thousands of Iraqis killed and wounded.
Iraq is witnessing its worst eruption of violence in five years, raising fears that the latest bloodshed is bringing the country back to a full-blown civil conflict that peaked in 2006 and 2007, when the monthly death toll sometimes exceeded 3,000.