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Death Toll Rises in Iraq as Car Bombs, Explosions Escalate

Attacks on eve of Muslim New Year

Common Dreams staff

People gathered at the scene of a car bomb attack in Baghdad on Wednesday. (Photo: Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press)

Days of violence in Iraq continued to escalate Wednesday as approximately 11 car bombs, a roadside explosion and a shooting in a number of cities killed another 26 people and injured more than 100.

The attacks struck civilian, government and security targets, according to The New York Times.

The attacks took place on the eve of the Muslim festival marking the start of the Islamic New Year, celebrated by Shiite Muslims, who make up a majority of Iraq's population.

Kirkuk in northern Iraq, an oil-rich province much disputed by various ethnic croups and frequently hit by violence, saw nine people killed and 39 injured, Al Jazeera reports.

"My child was killed! His friends were killed!” Shukriyah Rauf screamed in Kurdish at the site of the worst of the Kirkuk city attacks, the Sri Lanka's Sunday's Times reports. “There is no security here, our homes were destroyed!”

A car bomb targeting an army's convoy exploded near a Palestine hotel in an area frequented by foreigners, killing a guard. The general was unhurt.

Ten others were killed, and nine injured south of Baghdad by a car bomb.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the attacks were apparently coordinated.

While no group immediately claimed responsibility, Agence France-Press notes, "Al-Qaeda's front group in Iraq frequently carries out coordinated bombings and attempts mass casualty attacks in a bid to destabilize the goverment through foenting bloodshed."

The last similar daily toll was on Nov. 6, when when a bomb killed more than two dozen people at a military base in Taji, The New York Times reports.

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