BAGHDAD, Iraq – Insurgents killed two men in an oil tanker truck, two construction workers and a government employee on Sunday, one day after a car bombing in a Shiite farming village left more than two dozen dead.
The surge in violence came as political blocs unveiled their lists of candidates for Dec. 15 parliamentary elections, which the United States and its coalition partners hope will help restore enough stability to allow them to begin bringing their forces home next year.
In Sunday”s worst attack, a roadside bomb destroyed one of several oil tanker trucks driving on a main road in south Baghdad, sending a fire ball up over the area and killing the two men inside, said police Capt. Ibrahim Abdul-Ridha. Four civilians in the area at the time were wounded.
Three separate drive-by shootings in the capital killed two construction workers and wounded three; seriously injured a shopkeeper in the Dora district; and hit a car carrying Cabinet adviser Ghalib Abdul Mahdi to work, wounding him and killing his driver, police said.
In Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, a roadside bomb killed a farmer on his tractor and seriously injured two other civilians, said police Capt. Laith Mohammed.
On Saturday night, the corpses of three handcuffed and blindfolded Iraqis were found in Baghdad, and police said an Iraqi soldier and the brother of a policeman were gunned down.
A new Pentagon report estimated that 26,000 Iraqis have been killed or wounded by insurgents since Jan. 1, 2004. In the most recent period, from Aug. 29 to Sept. 16, there were an estimated 64 Iraqi casualties each day.
A recent Associated Press count found that at least 3,870 Iraqis have died in the last six months. The AP count found that two-thirds of those killed were civilians and one-third were security personnel.
Last week, a U.S. military spokesman told The Associated Press as many as 30,000 Iraqis may have died during the war, which began with the U.S. invasion in March 2003. But independent analysts say that figure could be much higher, with estimates ranging from at least 30,000 to 100,000 or more.
At least 2,015 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count, including three Army soldiers who were killed on Saturday by a land mine and a roadside bomb in two separate attacks.
On Saturday, a bomb hidden in a truck loaded with dates exploded in the center of the Shiite farming village of Huweder, about 45 miles northeast of Baghdad, killing 26 people and injuring at least 45.
The bomb exploded as villagers were heading to the mosque for prayers or outdoors in the cool evening breeze to break the daylong fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
"It felt as if the earth was shaking underneath our feet," said Hussein Mouwaffaq, whose brother Qahtan was killed in the blast. "The street was strewn with dates. Many people were killed and injured."
Police Lt. Ahmed Abdul Wahab, who gave the casualty figure, said the number of deaths could increase because several survivors were critically wounded. The village is in a religiously mixed area plagued by suicide attacks, roadside bombs and armed assaults on police checkpoints.
Shiite civilians are frequent targets of Sunni extremists, including the country”s most feared terror group, al-Qaida in Iraq, which considers members of the majority religious community to be heretics and collaborators with U.S.-led forces. Iraq”s security services are staffed mainly by Shiites and Kurds.