Attacks kill five soldiers as Baghdad reels from blasts

Attacks kill five soldiers as Baghdad reels from blasts

BAGHDAD - Three roadside bombs north of Baghdad killed five soldiers on Wednesday as the Iraqi capital reeled from a spate of car bombs the previous evening targeting Shiite neighbourhoods.

The latest attacks came after 54 people were killed in nationwide bloodshed, the majority from nearly a dozen evening car bombs in Baghdad, as Iraq struggles with a surge of unrest that has sparked fears the country is sliding back into the all-out sectarian war that left tens of thousands dead in 2006 and 2007.

On Wednesday morning, a trio of blasts went off near a passing army patrol in the mostly-Sunni town of Tarmiyah, just north of Baghdad, killing five soldiers and wounding seven others, officials said.

More bombings in former dictator Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit killed a young boy and wounded a woman.

The latest bloodshed came after a wave of attacks across Iraq concentrated in the capital killed 54 people and left more than 100 wounded the previous evening.

A dozen car bombs, which all went off after 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) and targeted Shiite neighbourhoods of the capital killed 43, security and medical officials said.

The blasts hit a range of civilian targets, from an ice cream shop in the central commercial district of Karrada to a popular market in the northern neighbourhood of Maamal.

Another car bomb went off near a Shiite mosque in eastern Baghdad.

And a vehicle rigged with explosives in Talbiyah, in the north, was detonated near a crowded wholesale fruit and vegetable market. It badly damaged several cars and more than a dozen shops, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

The bombings were the latest in a series of attacks timed to coincide with people visiting cafes and other public areas during the evening.

In the past, coordinated violence has typically been confined to the morning rush-hour, when the capital is normally in gridlock.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but Sunni militants linked to Al-Qaeda frequently carry out coordinated attacks targeting the Shiite Muslim majority who they regard as apostates.

Eleven other people were killed in a range of other attacks on Tuesday, officials said.

Attacks have killed more than 3,900 people since the start of the year, according to an AFP tally.

Iraqi officials have trumpeted wide-ranging operations targeting militants in which hundreds of alleged fighters have been captured and dozens killed, despite charges of failing to address the root causes of the violence.

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