Monday, October 5, 2015

At least 25 killed in three Iraq car bombs: police

A car bomb blast near the southern Iraqi city of Basra and two others north of the capital Baghdad killed at least 25 people on Monday, security officials said.

At least 10 people were killed in a rare car bomb explosion in Zubayr, just southwest of Basra, while five and 10 died in attacks in Hosseiniyah and Khalis respectively.

“At least 10 people were killed. We also have 24 wounded,” said Jabbar al-Saadi of the Basra provincial council’s security committee.

He said the explosion, which occurred around 5:30 pm (1430 GMT), rocked a market area known as Souk al-Halaqin in Zubayr, just 10 kilometres (six miles) southwest of Basra.

Bombings are rare in Iraq’s south, which is predominantly Shiite and hard to penetrate for Sunni jihadist groups responsible for most such attacks in Baghdad and other parts of the country.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Zubayr bombing, however.

The Basra region has been spared the violence unleashed on other parts of Iraq by the Islamic State group since last year, but feuding between rival Shiite armed groups and criminal gangs has risen lately.

Two other car bombs went off in areas north of Baghdad that have been routinely targeted by the jihadists.

A blast in a market area of Khalis, around 55 kilometres (35 miles) from the capital, killed 10 people and wounded 21, a senior police officer said.

A local medical source in Diyala province confirmed the casualty toll.

Diyala, a religiously and ethnically mixed province that IS partly took over last year, was declared liberated by the government in January.

The jihadists, who consider Shiites heretics, no longer have fixed positions in the province, but have reverted to their old tactics of planting car bombs and carrying out suicide operations or hit-and-run attacks.

In Hosseiniyah, barely 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Baghdad, a car bomb detonated in a busy area, killing five people and wounding at least 17, a police colonel said.

According to figures released by the UN Mission in Iraq on Thursday, 717 Iraqis were killed and 1,216 wounded in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in September.

The Baghdad governorate alone accounted for 257 of the deaths.

The United Nations says its figures account only for the casualties that can be verified, and are likely to be far below reality.

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