Iraq: More Than 100 Killed In Day Of Violence

Sky News – 7 hours ago
At least 109 people have been killed in a series of bomb blasts and gun attacks targeting cities across Iraq.

Car bombs exploded in six mainly Shi'ite districts in Baghdad, killing 51 people.

And in Dujail, 30 miles north of the city, gunmen and a suicide bomber driving a car targeted a military base, killing 11 soldiers and injuring another seven.

Eight people queuing to apply for jobs as police guards for the Iraqi North Oil Company died in a car bomb explosion in the flashpoint city Kirkuk, police said.

Another car bomb exploded outside the French consular building in the usually stable city of Nassiriya, killing a police guard and wounding four others, and a second blast in the city killed two more.

More people were killed in several other blasts across the country in Kirkuk, Samarra, Basra and Tuz Khurmato, with nearly 240 others thought to have been injured in the attacks.

Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda have launched a series of major attacks this year in an attempt to stoke the kind of political and sectarian tensions that drove the country to near civil war in 2006 and 2007.

It comes after Iraq's fugitive Vice President, Tareq al Hashemi, was sentenced to death for murder on Sunday in a ruling likely to further inflame sectarian tensions.

Hashemi, a senior Sunni Muslim politician, fled Iraq after authorities accused him of running a death squad, charges that triggered a crisis in power-sharing among Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish blocs as US troops were pulling out in December.

The vice president is unlikely to return to Iraq from Turkey.

Hashemi and his son-in-law were both found guilty of murdering a female lawyer and security official, Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar, a judiciary spokesman said.

He had accused Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of orchestrating a crackdown on Sunni opponents and refused to appear in a court he said was biased.

The Nassiriya attacks damaged the building housing a French consular office, but a French diplomat said the honorary consul himself - an Iraqi citizen - was not at the office at the time.

French diplomats have been targeted before by violence in Iraq.

In June last year, a French embassy convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, wounding seven local Iraqi guards and badly damaging an embassy vehicle.

At the time, France had been on high alert for attacks overseas due to tensions over the presence of its troops in Afghanistan and the country's ban on allowing full-length Islamic veils.

The Iraqi government, torn by infighting among Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish political factions, is struggling to battle Islamist militants and an al Qaeda affiliate nine months after the last US troops left.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the latest series of attacks.


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