Wave of Iraq attacks kill 52

Afp May 10, 2010

HILLA: Twin car bombs against factory workers and an apparently coordinated series of attacks targeting security forces killed 52 people on Monday in the worst violence to hit Iraq in more than a fortnight.

In the deadliest attack, two explosives-packed vehicles detonated minutes apart in the car park of a textiles factory in the central city of Hilla, 95 kilometres (60 miles) south of Baghdad, leaving 20 people dead and 100 wounded, a hospital official said.

The blasts struck the State Company for Textile Industries at around 1:30 pm (1030 GMT) as workers were leaving.

The capital Baghdad was hit by a spate of shootings with automatic weapons against six police or army checkpoints in the east and west of the city, accounting for seven of the dead, an interior ministry official said. Two other policemen died in three bombings in south and west Baghdad.

"The attacks started at 6:30 am (0330 GMT) and ended around 8:00 am (0500 GMT)," the official said, noting that nearly all of the wounded were security personnel.

A double bomb attack near the mosque in Suwayrah, 60 kilometres (40 miles) southeast of the capital, killed 11 people and wounded 70, a police lieutenant told AFP.

There were also four bomb attacks on houses in and around the former Sunni insurgent bastion of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, three of which were owned by security officials. Police and a doctor at Fallujah hospital confirmed a total of four people had been killed and 11 injured in the attacks.

Eight other people were killed in separate attacks near the main northern city of Mosul, in Iskandiriyah, south of Baghdad, and near Tarmiyah, north of the Iraqi capital.

Monday's death toll was the highest since April 23, when 58 people were killed in series of bombings in Baghdad and western Iraq, days after the government said al Qaeda was on the run.

There were around 20 attacks in total on Monday. Major General Qassim Atta, a security forces spokesman in Baghdad, said the attacks appeared to be coordinated.

The latest violence came as Iraq headed towards forming a new government, two months after elections in which no clear winner emerged.

Electoral officials said on Sunday that results from the March 7 vote were nearly finalised with totals from all but one province sent for ratification.

A recount in the lone exception, Baghdad, is more than half done. Monday's unrest comes after the number of Iraqis killed in violence in April fell slightly month on month but was almost unchanged from 12 months ago.

Figures compiled by the health, interior and defence ministries showed that 328 people -- 274 civilians, 39 police and 15 soldiers -- died as a result of attacks in April, only slightly fewer than the 355 killed 12 months ago.

April's death toll, however, was down slightly on March, when 367 people were killed in unrest.


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