Spate of bomb attacks kill 18 people in Baghdad

07:59, May 23, 2011      

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A series of bomb attacks on Sunday morning in and near Baghdad claimed lives of 18 Iraqis, most were security members, and 76 people wounded, in a new escalation in violence in the country several months before the U.S. troops departure from the country.

The bloodiest attack occurred in Taji area, some 20 km north of Baghdad, when a car bomb parked on a main road detonated as a U.S. military convoy was passing through the area, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Another explosion followed when a suicide bomber blew up his explosive-vest among a crowd of Iraqi security forces who rushed to the scene and dozens of civilians, killing 12 people and wounding 23 others, the source said.

Eight policemen were among the deaths, while four policemen and three soldiers were among the wounded, the source added.

Earlier, the source put the toll at seven killed and 10 wounded in the twin bomb attacks.

There were no immediate reports about any casualty among the U. S. forces, and the U.S. military did not officially confirm the incident yet.

In Baghdad, two car bombs and 10 roadside bombs rocked the capital during the morning rush hours, killing a total of six people and wounding some 53 others.

In one coordinated attack, four roadside bombs and a car bomb went off in succession in al-Amil district in southwestern the capital, killing two people and wounding 15 others, the source said.

In a separate incident, a car parked on a road in al-Talbiyah district in eastern Baghdad, detonated near the convoy of Brigadier General Adel Mohammed, head of Interior Ministry's internal affairs department, killing a passerby and wounding five people, the source said.

Mohammed escaped unharmed, but two of his bodyguards were among the wounded, the source added.

In Baghdad's Shiite bastion of Sadr City district, a roadside bomb went off near a hospital and another at a marketplace, killing two people and wounding 12 others, he said.

In downtown Baghdad, two roadside bombs ripped through a busy intersection of al-Wathiq Square and killed a civilian and wounded 12 others, including six policemen, he added.

Six more people, including a policeman were wounded in another roadside bomb explosion near a police patrol in Beirut Square in eastern Baghdad, the source said.

Another roadside bomb detonated in al-Saidiyah neighborhood in southern Baghdad, wounding three people, the source added.

The attacks came three days after massive bomb attacks in Iraq' s ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk, some 250 km north of Baghdad, that claimed the lives of 29 people, most of them were policemen, raising tension in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

Kirkuk province is part of disputed areas between the Kurds and both Arabs and Turkomans. The province has long been the hotbed of insurgency since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Sunday's attacks are seen as part of wave of violence that engulfed the country several months before the U.S. troops to pull out from the country according to security pact.

Also in the day, the Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh announced that the Iraqi naval forces took over safeguarding the country's territorial water following the withdrawal of British Royal Navy after they ended their mission of training the Iraqi naval personnel.

"The British Royal Navy completely withdrew from the Iraqi territorial water, after they ended their mission of training the Iraqi naval personnel," Dabbagh told reporters, stressing that the trained Iraqi navy has replaced the British forces to protect the territorial water.

Violence and sporadic high-profile attacks in the country underscore the challenges that the Iraqi security forces are facing as they struggle to restore stability and normalcy in Iraqi cities about eight months before the departure of all American forces by the end of 2011, according to the security pact named (Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA) signed late in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.

Source: Xinhua
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