1. Archive

At least 19 people killed in attacks across Iraq

BAGHDAD — At least 19 people were killed in Iraq on Tuesday as insurgents targeted day laborers, government workers and an antiterrorism police captain amid a continuing surge of violence, according to security officials.

At least 80 people were injured, the officials said.

In the attack on the captain, gunmen stormed the home of Hassan Abdulla al-Timimi in the Abu Ghraib area, west of Baghdad, killing him, his wife and their three children, said Col. Sabah al-Falahi, a local police chief.

The attacks come amid a political crisis that has virtually paralyzed the government in the wake of the U.S. troop departure last month. Analysts contend that insurgents are taking advantage of the chaos to try to exacerbate sectarian strife between Shiite and Sunni extremists.

In recent weeks, an al-Qaida-affiliated group, the Islamic State of Iraq, has asserted responsibility for at least 37 attacks, saying it was protesting the detention of Sunnis in Shiite-controlled jails. Many of Tuesday's bombings targeted Shiite neighborhoods.

In the 30 days after U.S. troops left on Dec. 18, at least 327 people were killed in bombings and assassinations, according to a security official. That appears to be a sharp increase over previous months. For the year ending Dec. 31, Iraqi officials recorded about 2,640 deaths, according to totals from the Interior and Health ministries, which averages out to about 220 killings a month.