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BAGHDAD: A wave of attacks in and around Baghdad and in northern Iraq killed 26 people and wounded dozens more yesterday, shattering a relative calm after a spate of deadly violence last week.
The unrest comes amid a political crisis that has pitted Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki against several of his erstwhile government partners and with more than four weeks of anti-government protests in Sunni majority areas hardening opposition against the Shia leader’s rule.
Yesterday’s bloodiest blasts struck an army checkpoint south of Baghdad, a military base north of the capital, and a mostly Shia neighbourhood in the city’s north, security and medical officials said.
No group claimed responsibility, but Sunni militants often launch attacks in a bid to destabilise the government and push Iraq back towards the sectarian violence that blighted it from 2005 to 2008.
“One of my friends was hurt in his head, and another was seriously wounded in his chest,” said 41-year-old mechanic Ali Jassim at the site of the Baghdad blast, before angrily shouting: “The politicians are busy with keeping their posts, and we are suffering from these explosions!”
In the bloodiest attack, six people were killed when a car bomb was detonated near an army camp in the town of Taji, 25km north of Baghdad, an army officer and a medical official said. At least 20 other people were wounded.
South of the capital in the town of Mahmudiyah, at least five people were killed and 14 wounded by a suicide car bomb, officials said.
A car bomb near a market in the north Baghdad neighbourhood of Shuala killed five people and wounded 12, while gunmen killed five officials who were transporting salaries between oil refineries near the town of Baiji.
Pieces of metal were littered across the scene of the Baghdad attack, with several cars badly damaged or completely burned, a witness said. The insurgents who carried out the latter attack fled, and the funds were recovered, officials said. Meanwhile, eight different shootings and bombings in Diyala, Nineveh and Salaheddin provinces north of Baghdad killed five people and wounded 12. AFP