Scores dead as violence sweeps Iraq

At least 92 killed in string of attacks across the country, as most violent year since 2006-2007 bloodletting continues.

An Iraqi policeman, right, looks at a damaged vehicle after a car bomb attack in Baghdad on Monday.
Wissm al-Okili/Reuters

At least 92 people have been killed and over 161 wounded in a string of deadly attacks across Iraq Monday, security sources told Al Jazeera.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but rebel groups frequently target civilians and members of the Iraqi security forces to undermine confidence in the country's Shia-led government and agitate sectarian tensions.

The attacks started in the town of Beiji, about 110 miles north of Baghdad, where a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the main gate of the town police station. Three other bombers then ran into the station and blew themselves up, killing eight officers and wounding five others, an official said. 

"We believe the attack was aimed at freeing detainees who are being held in the building next door," said Major Salih al-Qaisi, a police officer at the scene, adding that all of the bombers were killed before reaching the building where the detainees are held. 

Reuters news agency, citing police and and medical sources, reported later on Monday that two parked cars laden with explosives and a roadside bomb went off near a funeral tent and killed at least 24 Shia Muslim pilgrims in Yusfiya, about 12 miles south of Baghdad.

A spate of car bombs and roadside bombs in mainly Shia neighborhoods of Baghdad also killed at least 27 people and wounded scores, police and medical sources said.

Another attack occurred in Baghdad's southeastern neighborhood of Bayaa when a car bomb went off in a parking lot, killing six civilians and wounding 12 others. 

And three suicide bombers seized the local council building in Tikrit, 95 miles north of the capital, after setting off two car bombs outside, security sources said. At least three people were killed.

Wave of violence

Monday's bombings are part of a wave of violence that has swept over Iraq since a security crackdown on a protest camp in a northern Sunni town in April.

In addition to Monday's bombings, militants in Mosul — 240 miles north of Baghdad — intercepted a bus carrying Shia pilgrims to the shrine city of Karbala from the northern Shia town of Tal Afar, and shot 12 of them dead, police said.

Security services have been on high alert since last week because they expect more attacks on Shias before Iraq's majority community marks the ritual of Arbaeen, commemorating the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Mohammad. Shias are considered apostates by Sunni militants, whose resurgence is blamed by the government partly on the impact of the increasingly sectarian war in neighboring Syria.

At least 262 people have died in attacks across the country this month, according to The Associated Press, making 2013 the most violent year in Iraq since the country was pushed to the brink of civil war in 2006 to 2007.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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