Iraq Hit by Wave of Deadly Attacks

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Al Jazeera English

Iraq Hit by Wave of Deadly Attacks

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Iraqi soldiers stop vehicles at a checkpoint in Baghdad in April 2010. An apparently co-ordinated series of attacks targeting security forces and a Shiite mosque in Iraq killed 32 people in the worst violence to hit the country in more than a fortnight.(AFP/File/Sabah Arar)

At least 62 people have been killed across Iraq
after a series of 16 attacks rocked the country.

A dozen of the attacks on Monday occurred in the capital Baghdad
alone, executed within hours, with assailants using silenced and
automatic weapons, roadside bombs and cars rigged with explosives.

Security forces were the apparent target of much
of the assault, with patrols and checkpoints manned by local and federal
police, as well as the Iraqi national army, all being hit.

In the latest incident, however, two cars parked outside a textile
plant in the city of Hillah and laden with explosives blew up as workers
were exiting the building, killing at least 36 people and wounding more
than 140 others.

A car bomb and roadside bomb were also detonated
at a market in the city of Suweira, Wasit province, killing eight people
and injuring 29 more.

Earlier, a car bomb in Baghdad's northern suburb of Tarmiya,
targeting a police officer, killed three people and injured 16. One of
the roadside bombs, set off as a patrol passed, also killed two
civilians.

The rest of the deaths in Baghdad were reported to be security
forces.

A suicide bomber targeting a police checkpoint also killed two people
in the northern city of Mosul.

In the western city of Fallujah, four separate bombs killed four
people, while 10 police officers were wounded in the western on Monday
after explosives were planted outside their homes.

Rising violence

The attacks on Monday showed a new tactic being used by
anti-government fighters in the country, Reuters news agency quoted an
interior ministry spokesman as saying.

"This was a message to us that they can attack us in different
parts ... at the same time because they have cells everywhere," he said.

The attacks come just two days after reports that the Iraqi defence
ministry was considering building
a "security fence"
around the capital as a way of curbing violence
and controlling the movements of anti-government fighters.

Access to the city would be controlled by eight checkpoints, and
construction could be completed by mid-2011, reports from local
broadcaster Al Iraqiyya Television said.

Violence across Iraq has dropped significantly since 2006 and 2007,
when the country's sectarian conflict was at its height. But attacks
have been on the rise in recent months, particular in Baghdad.

National parliamentary elections on March
7
left no clear winner, and continuing wrangling by political blocs
to form a governable coalition have left an atmosphere of instability in
the county.

'Backlash'

Security forces have in recent weeks also made a series of arrests of
high-profile members of the al-Qaeda in Iraq group, Al Jazeera's Mike
Hanna, reporting from Baghdad, said.

"Certainly, authorities were predicting a backlash against that, we
had seen a number of attacks recently, but this is the most serious in
terms, not only of the death toll, but of the sense of co-ordination,"
he said.

"It would be a very strong answer, if indeed it is an al-Qaeda group
[behind Monday's strikes], that despite the fact that their leadership
is gone, they are still capable of carrying out this type of attack."

Police said three of checkpoints fired at on Monday were in the west
of Baghdad, with two more in the east and one in the south. The
checkpoints that were bombed were in the south and southeast of the
capital.

 Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies

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