Coordinated bomb attacks rock Iraq

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BAGHDAD — Bombs striking Shiite neighborhoods, security forces and other targets across Iraq killed dozens Sunday in the latest instance of coordinated violence to take a sectarian bent and undermine confidence in the beleaguered government, officials said.

The deadliest attack came in the town of Taji, a former al Qaeda stronghold just north of Baghdad, where three explosive-rigged cars went off within minutes of each other. Police said eight people died and 28 were injured in the blasts that began at about 7:15 a.m.

In all, at least 94 people were wounded in the wave of attacks that stretched from the restive but oil-rich city of Kirkuk in Iraq’s north to the southern Shiite town of Kut.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the violence.

Car bombs, however, are a hallmark of al Qaeda in Iraq. The Sunni militant network has vowed to take back areas of the country, such as Taji, where it had been pushed out before U.S. troops withdrew in December.

Shiite lawmaker Hakim al-Zamili, a member of parliament’s security and defense committee, said the attacks were a sign al Qaeda “is still in business.” He said a deadly weekend prison break in Tikrit in which many al Qaeda-linked convicts escaped, likely boosted the terrorist network’s morale and spurred Sunday’s assault.

Al Qaeda leaders have no intention of leaving this country or letting Iraqis live in peace,” Mr. al-Zamili said. “Thus, we should expect more attacks in the near future. The situation in Iraq is still unstable and repetition of such attacks shows that our security forces are still unqualified to deal with the terrorists,” he said.

Shortly after the Taji attacks, police said a suicide bomber set off his explosives-packed car in the Shiite neighborhood of Shula in northwest Baghdad. One person was killed and seven wounded. Police could not immediately identify the target.

And in Baghdad’s bustling Karradah neighborhood, a parked car laden with explosives went off next to a police patrol, killing a police officer and a civilian, other officials said. Eight other people were injured.

The blast was followed minutes later by another bomb in a parked car as people gathered, killing three civilians and injuring 12 others. Secondary bomb blasts targeting those coming to help the wounded are a common insurgent tactic.

Bombs also went off in five other cities Sunday, killing seven policemen, 11 Iranian pilgrims in Madain and 12 other civilians.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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