At least 30 killed as gunmen, suicide bomber, strike across Iraq
Violence is increasing amid continued election squabbling more than two months after the Iraq election, with a suicide bombing and series of coordinated attacks Monday across the Baghdad region killing at least 30.
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UPDATED: In what turned into Iraq's worst day of violence this year, scores were killed or wounded Monday in two suicide bombings and nine coordinated attacks on security checkpoints across Baghdad and nearby towns, showing how easily the fractious country can teeter back into chaos, particularly amid political uncertainty.
Two months after landmark elections that have yet to be certified, Iraq remains without a governing coalition, set back by squabbling, recount demands, and jockeying by complex cross-sectarian factions.
Gunmen attacked the six checkpoints at dawn today, killing seven soldiers and policemen, Reuters reported. Bombs exploded at three other checkpoints, as well, though none were killed at those locations.
Separately, a suicide bomber killed at least 13 people at a marketplace in al-Suwayra, 30 miles southeast of Baghdad, and yet another suicide bombing Monday and two car explosions killed an additional 40 people outside a textile factory in Babil Province, 60 miles south of Baghdad. The Associated Press reports that the day's death toll was 75, turning this into Iraq's bloodiest day of the year so far.
Death estimates varied, with Reuters originally reporting at least 30 people dead and 100 wounded. An Interior Ministry source told Reuters that the attacks showed that Al Qaeda in Iraq was still a potent force. "This was a message to us that they can attack us in different parts of the city at the same time because they have cells everywhere," the source said.
Coordinated attacks April 23 in Baghdad near the main office of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and a series of explosions at Shiite mosques during prayers killed more than 50 people and wounded almost 200 in what was until today the worst attacks in Iraq since the elections in early March.
Monday's attacks came just after reports that the Iraqi government may build a concrete, camera-studded security barrier around Baghdad to reduce violence, reports Al-Jazeera. City access would be controlled by eight checkpoints, and construction could be completed by mid-2011.
Iraq has calmed somewhat since the height of sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007. But observers say tensions still threaten to boil over while a power vacuum has made the country more vulnerable to such unrest.