BAGHDAD – A new wave of car bombs hit Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and a suicide bomber targeted soldiers in a northern city in attacks that killed at least 56 across Iraq on Sunday, officials said.
Coordinated bombing onslaughts killing scores of people have hit Iraq multiple times each month, feeding a spike in bloodshed that has left over 5,000 since April. The local branch of al-Qaida often takes responsibility, although there was no immediate claim for Sunday’s blasts.
Four police officers said that the bombs in the capital, placed in parked cars and detonated over a half-hour, targeted commercial areas and parking lots, killing 42.
The deadliest blast was in the southeastern Nahrwan district where two car bombs exploded simultaneously, killing seven and wounding 15 others. Two other explosions hit the northern Shaab and southern Abu Dshir neighborhoods, each of which killed six people. Other blasts hit the neighborhoods of Mashtal, Baladiyat and Ur in eastern Baghdad, the southwestern Bayaa and the northern Sab al-Bor and Hurriyah districts.
Meanwhile, in the northern city of Mosul, a suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden car into a group of soldiers as they were sealing off a street leading to a bank where troops were receiving salaries, killing 14 included five civilians, a police officer said. At least 30 people were wounded, he added.
Former insurgent stronghold Mosul is located about 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad.
Such systematic attacks are a favorite tactic of al-Qaida’s local branch. It frequently targets civilians in markets, cafes and commercial streets in Shiite areas in an attempt to undermine confidence in the government, as well as members of the security forces.
Seven medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.
In Mashtal in Baghdad, police and army forces sealed off the scene as ambulances rushed to pick up the wounded where pools of blood covered the pavement. The force of the explosion damaged number of cars and shops. At one restaurant, wooden benches were overturned and broken eggs were scattered on the ground. In Shaab, a crane lifted away at least 12 charred cars as cleaners swept away debris.
Violence has spiked in Iraq since April, when the pace of killing reached levels unseen since 2008. Today’s attacks bring the death toll across the country this month to 545, according to an Associated Press count.