Iraq: Car, suicide blasts kill at least 61

BAGHDAD — A barrage of car bombings and suicide attacks rocked Baghdad and two northern Iraqi communities Thursday, killing at least 61 people during a major holiday period and extending a wave of bloodshed that is engulfing the country.

Most of the blasts occurred in mainly Shiite Muslim parts of the capital shortly after nightfall. Authorities reported nine car bombings across the city, including one near a playground that killed two children. It was the deadliest day in Iraq since Oct. 5, when a suicide bombing targeting Shiite pilgrims and other attacks killed at least 75.

A giant crane (L) that will lift up the sunken 'Sewol' ferry is silhouetted against the sunset in Jindo on April 24, 2014. Furious relatives of missing victims from South Korea's ferry disaster attacked a top coastguard official accusing him of lying about efforts to retrieve bodies still trapped in the submerged vessel. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURINICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images

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Iraq is weathering its deadliest outburst of violence since 2008, with a resurgent al-Qaeda branch blamed for much of the killing as part of its campaign to undermine the Shiite-led government.

Thursday’s bloodshed began early in the morning when a suicide bomber blew up his explosives-
car among houses in an ethnic-minority village in northern Iraq. That attack, in the Shabak village of al-Mouafaqiyah near the restive city of Mosul, 220 miles northwest of Baghdad, killed at least 15 people, police said.

Another suicide bomber struck hours later in a cafe in Tuz Khurmatu, killing three, police said. The town, a frequent flash point for violence, sits in a band of territory contested by Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens 130 miles north of Baghdad.

The attacks came as Muslims worldwide this week marked the Eid al-Adha religious holiday, a time for family celebrations and outings.

The Baghdad explosions occurred 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 people, authorities said.

Other mainly Shiite neighborhoods hit were southeastern New Baghdad, where four died, and Sadr City in the east, where a car bomb near a playground killed five, officials said. Another car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the northeastern neighborhood of Gareat, killing seven.

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, 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, officials said.

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

— Associated Press

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