48 killed in Iraq violence

Baghdad, Feb 6: At least 48 people were killed and 119 others wounded in violent attacks across Iraq Wednesday, mostly in the capital city of Baghdad, authorities said.

A series of bomb explosions rocked the Iraqi capital from morning to evening Wednesday, killing at least 37 people and wounding 91 others, Xinhua reported citing officials and police.

In the morning, a car bomb went off at a parking lot outside the Iraqi foreign ministry building in Baghdad, close to the heavily fortified Green Zone that houses government offices and the US embassy, an interior ministry source said.

A statement issued by the foreign ministry said its guards foiled an attack carried out by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle at 9 a.m., but the attacker blew himself up before reaching the outer checkpoint.

According to the ministry’s statement, 11 employees and guards were killed and 10 others wounded in the attack.

Another attack occurred when a suicide bomber blew up his explosive vest at a restaurant frequented by security members.

Brigadier General Saad Maan, the spokesperson of Baghdad Operations Command, said that at least 20 people were killed and 28 others wounded by the two attacks outside the foreign ministry and the restaurant.

A third blast took place Wednesday morning in Sinak commercial district on the eastern bank of the Tigris river that bisects the capital, leaving up to five killed and nine wounded, an interior ministry source said.

Separately, a Katyusha rocket in the afternoon struck an intersection on Haifa street in downtown Baghdad and wounded six people, the source added.

Shortly before the sunset, two car bombs detonated in quick succession in Jesr Diyala district in the southeastern part of Baghdad, killing 10 people and wounding 24 others, a police source said.

Another car bomb detonated in the nearby district of Zaafaraniyah, wounding eight people, the source added without elaborating.

In the evening, two people were killed and 10 others injured when a car bomb exploded near a restaurant in southern Baghdad. Six more people were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near a cafe in the same area, police said.

A suicide car bomber attacked a checkpoint of the Iraqi army in Nuaimiya south of Falluja, 50 km west of Baghdad, killing five soldiers and wounding seven others, a police source said.

Another suicide car bomber attacked an army checkpoint in Saqlawiya town, some 20 km north of Fallujah, killing three soldiers and wounding 11 others, the source added.

Three suicide bombers attacked a police headquarters in the city of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, killing one policeman and wounding seven others, police said.

Unidentified gunmen attacked two checkpoints in Tikrit, 170 km north of Baghdad, and clashed with security forces, leaving two policemen dead and three members of the pro-government Awakening group wounded.

Iraq is witnessing its worst violence in recent years. According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, 8,868 Iraqis, including 7,818 civilians and civilian police personnel, were killed in 2013, the highest annual death toll in recent years.

IANS