The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

Breaking News

October 17, 2013

Iraq: Wave of car, suicide blasts kill at least 61

(Continued)

BAGHDAD —

The town, a frequent flashpoint for violence, sits in a band of territory contested by Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen about 200 kilometers (130 miles) north of Baghdad.

The attacks struck as Muslims around the world this week mark the religious holiday of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice. The holiday marks the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim — or Abraham, as he is known in the Bible — to sacrifice his son in accordance with God's will, and is often a time for family celebrations and outings.

The Baghdad explosions went off in quick succession after sunset as families were heading out to parks, coffee shops and restaurants, police said.

Back-to-back car bombs exploded about two blocks apart in the mainly Shiite neighborhood of Husseiniyah, killing a total of 11 and wounding 22, authorities said.

Other mainly Shiite neighborhoods hit were the southeastern New Baghdad, where four died and 12 were wounded, and the eastern Sadr City, where a car bomb near a playground killed five, including two children, and wounded 16, officials said. Another car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the northeastern Shiite neighborhood of Gareat, killing seven and wounding 14, authorities said.

Elsewhere, a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a police checkpoint in the southern district of Dora, killing five people, including three police officers, and wounding nine, authorities said.

Two parked car bombs exploded near an outdoor market and shops in the mixed Shiite and Christian neighborhood of Garage al-Amana, killing eight and wounding 15, officials said.

The predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Shurta also was hit, with three killed and 12 wounded when a car bomb exploded in a commercial street, authorities said.

Hospital officials confirmed the casualties. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Thursday's blasts, though suicide bombings and car bombings are a favorite tactic of Al-Qaida's local branch. It frequently targets Shiites, whom it considers heretics, and those seen as closely allied to the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

Violence has escalated sharply since late April following a deadly crackdown by security forces on a camp for Sunni protesters in the northern town of Hawija.

The U.N. reported 979 people killed violently in Iraq last month. At least 350 more have died in attacks in Iraq so far this month, according to an Associated Press count.

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