Wave of bombings in Iraq kills at least 69 during Eid celebrations

Iraqi children targets of Al-Qaeda
A wave of car bombings yesterday, mainly targeting cafes and markets around the Iraqi capital, killed at least 69 people out celebrating Eid Al Fitr, officials said. 

Police said the deadliest of yesterday's attacks took place when a suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden car into a residential area in Tuz Khormato, killing eight people and wounding dozens, the town's mayor, Shalal Abdool, said.

The town is about 200 kilometres north of Baghdad. Police said a car bomb exploded near an outdoor market in the Baghdad's south-eastern suburbs of Jisr Diyala shortly before sunset, killing seven people and wounding 20. 

Also in south-eastern Baghdad, a car bomb went off inside a parking lot in the mainly Shiite New Baghdad neighbourhood, killing three people, officials said. Saif Mousa, the owner of a shoe store in New Baghdad, said he was sitting inside his shop when he heard the explosion. 

"My shop's windows were smashed and smoke filled the whole area," Mr Mousa said. "I went outside of the shop and I could hardly see because of the smoke ... At the end, we had a terrible day that was supposed to be nice" because of the holiday. 

Another car bomb exploded in a busy street in the Shiite neighbourhood of Amil, killing three people and wounding 14, authorities said. Police said four people were killed and 15 wounded when a car bomb exploded near a cafe in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Abu Dashir. 

In northern Baghdad, a car bomb hit a restaurant in the Shiite area of Khazimiyah, killing five people and wounding 14, authorities said. Police also said that five people were killed when a car bomb exploded near a cafe in Baghdad's south-western neighborhood of Baiyaa. 

Six people were killed and 15 others were wounded in a car bomb explosion in the Shiite neighbourhood of Shaab in north-eastern Baghdad, officials said. Also in the city's north-east, a car bomb went off near a restaurant in the suburb of Husseiniyah, killing seven people and wounding 15, police said. Police said that all those attacks took place within an hour. 

Earlier in the day, four people, including two children, were killed when a bomb exploded near a park just south of Baghdad, authorities said. Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures for all the attacks.Iraqi security forces have stepped up patrols and checkpoints during the Eid Al Fitr celebrations that mark the end of Ramadan. This holy month this year was the most violent since 2007, with 671 people killed. 

Violence has been on the rise across Iraq since a deadly crackdown by government forces on a Sunni protest camp in April. The surge of attacks has sparked fears that the country could spiral into a new round of sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

by AP
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