News / Middle East

At Least 61 Dead in Car Bombings, Suicide Blasts in Iraq

Iraq map
Iraq map
VOA News
A wave of car bombings and suicide bomb blasts ripped through the Iraqi capital and two northern communities Thursday, killing at least 61 people and wounding about 200 others.

Authorities say most of the Baghdad blasts happened in quick succession in Shi'ite Muslim parts of the city shortly after nightfall, including one near a playground that killed as many as six children.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but, the country's resurgent branch of al-Qaida is widely thought to be behind the surge of killings in recent months, as part of a push to undermine the Shi'ite-led government.

Earlier Thursday, authorities say a suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives in an ethnic minority village in northern Iraq.  The attack on the Shabak village near Mosul killed at least nine people and wounded about 50 others.  

A second suicide blast in Tuz Khormato killed at least three people and wounded more than 25 others.

Authorities say Sunni militants have previously targeted ethnic Shabak, who largely follow Shi'ite Islam.  Last month, a suicide bomber killed at least 23 people at a Shabak funeral in a nearby area of Nineveh province.

United Nations data show more than 5,000 people have been killed in militant attacks in Iraq since April, when Shi'ite dominated security forces attacked a Sunni protest encampment north of Baghdad.

Analysts have warned that the surge in violence - the worst since 2008 - threatens the return of widespread sectarian killing that pushed the country to the brink of civil war in the years after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

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