Wave of clashes, bombings leave 30 dead across Iraq

AP

Violence across Iraq, including a series of car bombings and fighting between militants and government troops over control of the country’s contested Anbar province, killed at least 30 people on Saturday, officials said.

The bombings struck neighborhoods around the capital Baghdad. A car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the western neighborhood of Mansour, killing four people and wounding 12, police said. Another exploded near a bus station in the east of the city, killing four people and wounding six, authorities said.

In northern Baghdad, a car bomb blast near a hospital killed four people and wounded eight, police said.

A car bomb went off in a commercial street of the Jamia neighborhood in western Baghdad, killing two people and wounding 13, officials said.

Another car bomb exploded near a juvenile prison in Toubchi district in western Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 13, police said. Some prisoners escaped following the blast and authorities later sealed the area to search for the inmates.

Police also said mortar shells landed near a residential area in al-Adil neighborhood, killing three people and wounding nine. A further bomb blast in a commercial street killed two other people in Baghdad’s western Amariyah district.

Earlier in the day, police said a bomb exploded inside a market in Baghdad’s Madain area, killing three people and wounding nine. A double bombing near a market in the northern city of Kirkuk also killed one person and wounded 15, police said.

Medical officials confirmed the death tolls for the attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

Violence has escalated in Iraq over the past year, particularly since late last month after authorities dismantled an antigovernment Sunni protest camp and arrested a Sunni lawmaker on terrorism charges in Anbar province. In order to alleviate tension, the army decided to pull back, but that allowed al-Qaida militants to seize control of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, the provincial capital.

Iraqi security forces and allied Sunni tribesmen have been trying to recapture the overrun territories. Overnight clashes in Fallujah between soldiers and militants killed three people, hospital officials said.

The White House said U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Saturday to discuss the fighting in Anbar, stressing that al-Maliki’s government must continue to reach out to local tribal leaders there.