Middle East News
Separate attacks in Iraq leave 54 people dead
Aug 15, 2011, 10:04 GMT
Baghdad - At least 54 people were killed and 134 injured Monday in around a dozen blasts, the largest attacks to take place consecutively across Iraq since the beginning of the year.
The deadliest blast was in the eastern Iraqi city of Kut, when twin bomb attacks left at least 34 people dead and 68 injured, a medical source said.
An explosive device went off, followed by a car bomb in central Kut, Diaa Eddin Jalil, head of Kut Health Directorate told the German Press Agency dpa.
In the southern city of Najaf, four people were killed in two consecutive blasts east of the city. Police sources said that 20 people were injured in the attacks.
Seven others were killed in Karbala, also south of the capital Baghdad, when a car bomb exploded in front of a court house there. However, security prevented journalists from going near the scene.
One person was killed and 18 others injured by two back-to-back explosions in separate locations in the northern city of Kirkuk, police sources said.
'The first bomb exploded from a motorcycle in the busy market of Dumez leaving one civilian dead and 11 injured,' police sources told dpa.
The second car explosion took place in the Tesein neighbourhood, targeting Iraqi police patrolling the area, injuring five police officers and two civilians, they added.
Five people were killed and 18 injured in several consecutive car bomb blasts in Baquba city, located some 57 kilometres north-east of Baghdad.
Meanwhile, in the central city of Tikrit, three men stormed a government building, killing three officials.
The first, who was wearing an explosive belt, blew himself up at the entrance of the Directorate of Terrorism, killing two policemen.
The second man was shot dead in a gunfire exchange with security, while the third escaped the scene after killing a police officer and injuring 10 security personnel.
Authorities imposed a curfew on all these cities.
A spokesman of the interior ministry said that gunmen behind attacks in Kirkuk, Kut and Tikrit were killed by security forces.
He also banned security and police vehicles from parking on the side of the road, to prevent more attacks targeting security personnel.
Though violence in Iraq has declined significantly since its peak in 2006-07, fear of instability persists as gunmen carry out targeted assaults on security forces.
The attacks come as Iraq negotiates with the United States over the presence of US troops in the country past the agreed withdrawal deadline. Reports suggested that the two states are discussing the possibility some US troops remain in the country in order to train Iraqi troops.
There are just under 50,000 US soldiers still in Iraq, who were supposed to leave the country by the end of this year under a deal negotiated in 2008.