22 killed in pre-Eid Iraq attacks
BAGHDAD - Agence France-Presse
Security personnel inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, August 16, 2012. REUTERS PhotoA wave of attacks across Iraq on Thursday killed at least 22 people, officials said, amid warnings of a potential escalation in violence at the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Officials reported more than a dozen explosions and shootings in 12 cities and towns nationwide that also left more than 120 people wounded, and which came a day after attacks killed 13 people.
The latest unrest takes the overall death toll from violence this month to 167, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical sources.
In the north Baghdad neighbourhood of Husseiniyah, a car bomb killed at least six people and wounded 26, according to an interior ministry official and a medical source.
Meanwhile in the town of Daquq, north of Baghdad in Kirkuk province, a suicide attacker blew himself up at an anti-terrorism department's compound, according to provincial police Brigadier General Sarhad Qader.
In the province's eponymous capital, meanwhile, at least four car bombs were set off across the city -- including two at the offices of the state-owned North Oil Company.
"I came to investigate one of the attacks near the company compound," said police Colonel Abdullah Kadhim, head of Kirkuk city's sniffer dog unit.
"Suddenly, another bomb went off near me, and it damaged lots of cars and company property inside the parking lot." Kadhim suffered wounds to his leg.
Provincial health chief Sadiq Omar Rasul put the toll from the attacks in Daquq and Kirkuk city at eight dead and 56 wounded. Qader said the victims included six police killed in the Daquq attack.
The violence in ethnically-mixed Kirkuk city was concentrated in its Kurdish-majority areas, and came on the anniversary of the founding of Iraq's most powerful Kurdish party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
The KDP's current leader Massud Barzani was also born on the same day his father founded the party.
In the same province, two roadside bombs near the home of a police captain in the town of Dibis killed his brother and wounded four others, including the captain himself, police and a doctor at nearby Kirkuk hospital said.
Attacks also struck Al-Garma, Al-Baaj, Badush, Tuz Khurmatu, Mosul, Taji, Khales and Baquba, leaving seven dead and dozens wounded.
In Al-Garma, near the former insurgent bastion of Fallujah west of Baghdad, four policemen were killed and three others wounded in a shooting at a checkpoint, according to police Major Enes Mahmud and Dr Omar Dalli at Fallujah hospital.
As emergency responders and civilians rushed to the scene, a roadside bomb exploded, wounding four others.
Gunmen shot dead two people driving in Al-Baaj, west of Mosul, while two children were wounded by bombs that targeted the under-construction house of a police officer in Badush, also west of the restive north Iraq city, police Second Lieutenant Abed Ghayib and Dr Mohammed Tawfik said.
Three roadside bombs exploded in Tuz Khurmatu near the home of a district chief, or mukhtar, killing his wife and leaving him and his three sons wounded, according to police and a local medic.
Explosions in Mosul, Taji, Khales and on the outskirts of Baquba left 22 others wounded, security and medical officials said.
A day earlier, 13 people were killed in attacks north of Baghdad.
On Monday, British security firm AKE Group warned that "terrorists in Iraq may be planning mass casualty explosive attacks against large gatherings of civilians to mark the end of Ramadan later this week." "We haven't received any specific intelligence on the matter but they (insurgents) may be '
'saving up' their willing bombers for the closing period of the month, due around 17-18 August," AKE analyst John Drake said.
The 167 people killed this month include at least 76 security force members, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical sources.
While violence has decreased from its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks remain common across Iraq. There were attacks on 27 of the 31 days in July, and there has been at least one shooting or bombing every day this month.
Official figures put the number of people killed in attacks in July at 325, the highest monthly death toll since August 2010.