BAGHDAD, (AFP) — A wave of attacks across Iraq on Thursday killed at least 19 people and left 104 wounded, security and medical officials said, updating an earlier toll.
The attacks struck in nine different cities just days before the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Officials reported at least a dozen bomb blasts and one shooting in six different cities, a day after unrest left 13 dead, taking the overall death toll from nationwide unrest so far this month to 153.
In the north Baghdad neighbourhood of Husseiniyah, a car bomb killed at least six people and wounded 26, according to an interior ministry official and a medical source.
Meanwhile in the town of Daquq, north of Baghdad in Kirkuk province, a suicide attacker killed six policemen and wounded 25 people when he blew himself up at a counter-terrorism department’s compound, according to provincial police Brigadier General Sarhad Qader.
Attacks in the towns of Al-Garma, Tuz Khurmatu, Kirkuk and Dibis left seven others dead, officials said.
In the disputed, ethnically-mixed northern city of Kirkuk, four car bombs exploded within 45 minutes, according to a police official and Dr Karim Wali at the city’s main hospital.
Among those wounded were an unspecified number of security forces members, the officials said.
A day earlier, 13 people were killed in attacks north of Baghdad, the deadliest of which were in restive Diyala province.
On Monday, British security firm AKE Group warned that “terrorists in Iraq may be planning mass casualty explosive attacks against large gatherings of civilians to mark the end of Ramadan later this week.”
“We haven’t received any specific intelligence on the matter but they (insurgents) may be ‘saving up’ their willing bombers for the closing period of the month, due around 17-18 August,” AKE analyst John Drake said.
The 153 people killed this month include 67 security force members, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical sources.
While violence has decreased from its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks remain common across Iraq. There were attacks on 27 of the 31 days in July, and there has been at least one shooting or bombing every day this month.
Official figures put the number of people killed in attacks in July at 325, the highest monthly death toll since August 2010.