JNN 29 Aug 2013 BAGHDAD – At least 71 people were killed and 201 wounded in A coordinated wave of bombings which tore through Shiite Muslim areas in and around the Iraqi capital, Baghdad early Wednesday, police and medical sources said.
In addition to the bombings, the death toll included seven Shia family members killed when gunmen raided their home and shot them as they slept.
The attacks are the latest in a relentless wave of killing that has left thousands dead since April, marking the country’s worst spate of bloodshed since 2008. They raise fears that Iraq is hurtling back toward the brink of a civil war fueled by ethnic and sectarian differences.
Insurgents deployed explosives-laden cars, suicide bombers and other bombs Wednesday and targeted parking lots, outdoor markets and restaurants in predominantly Shia neighborhoods of Baghdad, according to officials. A military convoy was also hit south of the capital.
The northern neighborhood of Kazimiyah was the worst hit. Two bombs went off in a parking lot, followed by a suicide car bomber who struck onlookers who had gathered at the scene. Police said 10 people were killed and 27 wounded in that attack.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the day’s attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of the Iraqi branch of Al-Qaeda. The group frequently targets Shias, which it considers heretics, and employs coordinated bombings in an attempt to incite sectarian strife.
The Shia family shot dead at home were found in the largely Sunni town of Latifiyah, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad. Three children, ages eight to 12, were killed along with their parents and two uncles in that attack, according to police.
Authorities said they had previously fled the town after being threatened, and returned only three weeks ago.
Many of the day’s blasts targeted morning shoppers. Among them was a parked car bomb that detonated in a commercial area in the northern Shaab neighborhood of Baghdad, killing nine and wounding 15.
More parked car bombs went off in outdoor markets in the sprawling slum of Sadr City, where five were killed and 20 were wounded. Similar attacks hit the northeastern neighborhood of Shula, killing three and wounding nine; the southeastern Jisr Diyala in an outdoor market, killing eight and wounding 22; and the eastern New Baghdad area, killing three and wounding 12.
Blasts also hit the neighborhoods of Bayaa, Jamila, Hurriyah and Saydiyah, claiming a total of 12 lives.
In Mahmoudiyah, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a restaurant, killing four and wounding 13.
And in Madain, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) southeast of Baghdad, a roadside bomb struck a passing military patrol, killing four soldiers and wounding six others.
Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures, which included more than 180 wounded. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.
In response, clerics and other influential Shiite and Sunni leaders have called for restraint, and security forces have tried to ratchet up counterinsurgency operations.
More than 500 people have been killed so far in August, according to an Associated Press count.