BAGHDAD: A new wave of car bombs hit Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 42 people and wounding dozens, officials said. It was the latest in a series of coordinated attacks targeting civilian areas that has killed hundreds in recent months.
Four police officers said the bombs, placed in parked cars and detonated over a half-hour, targeted commercial areas and parking lots. The deadliest blast was in the southeastern Nahrwan district where two car bombs exploded simultaneously, killing seven and wounding 15 others. Two other explosions hit the northern Shaab and southern Abu Dshir neighborhoods, each of which killed six people. Other blasts hit the neighborhoods of Mashtal, Baladiyat and Ur in eastern Baghdad, the southwestern Bayaa and the northern Sab al-Bor and Hurriyah districts.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but such systematic attacks are a favorite tactic of al-Qaida’s local branch. It frequently targets civilians in markets, cafes and commercial streets in Shiite areas in an attempt to undermine confidence in the government, as well as members of the security forces.
Six medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.
In Mashtal, police and army forces sealed off the scene as ambulances rushed to pick up the wounded where pools of blood covered the pavement. The force of the explosion damaged number of cars and shops. At one restaurant, wooden benches were overturned and broken eggs were scattered on the ground.
Violence has spiked in Iraq since April, when the pace of killing reached levels unseen since 2008. So far 531 persons have been killed in Iraq during the current month.