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Attacks kill up to 95 in Iraq

BAGHDAD — A wave of car bombings and shootings hit cities in Iraq late Sunday and Monday, killing at least 76 people and wounding more than 250, medical and security officials said. Some news agency reports put the overall toll even higher, at 95 or more dead.

The attacks sharpened concerns that sectarian violence was pushing the country toward a conflagration similar to the widespread fighting of 2006 and 2007, before the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

In Baghdad, at least seven car bombs went off Monday in Shiite neighborhoods, killing at least 25 people and wounding at least 150; some news reports cited as many as 10 car bombs and 48 deaths. The string of attacks followed bomb blasts in Sunni areas Friday that killed at least 66 people.

Also Monday, two car bombs exploded at a restaurant and a bus stop in the southern city of Basra, killing 15 people, officials said. In Balad, north of Baghdad, a car bomb explosion targeting a bus of Iranian pilgrims killed 12 Iranians and two Iraqis, a police official said.

Late Monday in Hilla, south of Baghdad, a suicide bomber stormed a Shiite mosque called Al Wardiya during the last prayer of the day, killing at least 10 people and wounding 50 others. Minutes later, a homemade bomb went off close to another Shiite mosque nearby, killing two people and wounding 30 others, a police official said.

In restive Anbar province, which has been the scene of predominantly Sunni protests against the mostly Shiite government, 10 police officers were killed when unidentified gunmen armed with automatic weapons and antitank rockets struck a police station late Sunday.

A tribal leader in the province said there would be further attacks on security forces because the government had not responded to the demands of demonstrators.

"We will not accept the army in Anbar; this is out of the question," said Muhammed Khamis Abu Risha, a fugitive former member of the Sunni Awakening, the fighters who were paid to switch sides and fight alongside the United States against al-Qaida before the U.S. pullback in late 2011. "The protest is not peaceful anymore, and we are ready for them. The coming days will not pass peacefully. We don't want democracy anymore."

The bodies of five police officers who were kidnapped in Anbar last week were found Monday.

Attacks kill up to 95 in Iraq 05/20/13 [Last modified: Monday, May 20, 2013 11:56pm]
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