Possible sectarian attacks kill dozens in Iraq | News | DW | 16.06.2013
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Possible sectarian attacks kill dozens in Iraq

Attacks have killed dozens in Iraq. The country has seen a sharp increase in violence in recent months, amid protests by the Sunni minority against the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Officials say that 10 apparently coordinated car bombs and a shooting have killed at as many as 30 people and wounded dozens across Iraq. Police said that most of Sunday's car bombs hit Shiite-majority areas in half a dozen cities and towns in the south and center of the country.

The attacks come after violence in May killed more than 1,000 people, mainly civilians, according to the United Nations, raising fears of a return to the sectarian tensions that drove the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007. The outgoing UN envoy to Iraq, Martin Kobler, has warned that the violence is "ready to explode".

In Basra city (pictured above), a pair of car bombs killed at least five people and injured at least eight, security officials told news agencies. According to the al-Sumaria news website, the head of the local Bomb Disposal Unit was among those killed in the Shiite-dominated city, located some 550 kilometers (340 miles) south of Baghdad.

No claim of responsibility

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Iraq: Shiite areas attacked

Two separate car bombs in al-Nasiriya city, 375 kilometers south of Baghdad, killed one person and injured nine. In Kut, 160 kilometers south of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded outside a restaurant in an industrial area packed with vehicle repair garages, killing seven people and wounding 15. Another car bomb in nearby Aziziyah in the town's main marketplace and near a Shiite mosque killed five and wounded 10.

Bombings in Nasiriyah and Mahmudiyah killed at least three others.

The shooting happened near the northern city of Mosul. Officials say gunmen attacked police guarding a remote stretch of an oil pipeline, killing at least four and wounding at least five.

No group claimed immediate responsibility, but Sunni militants and al Qaeda's Iraq wing have increased attacks since the beginning of the year as part of a campaign to stoke sectarian tensions.

mkg/slk (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

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