A wave of bombings tore through Iraq on Tuesday, killing 65 people on eve of the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion and showing how unstable Iraq remains more than a year after the withdrawal of American troops. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts, but they bore hallmarks of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
It was the deadliest day of attacks in Iraq since September 9, when insurgents unleashed an onslaught of bombings and shootings across the country that left 92 dead.
Violence has ebbed sharply since the peak of Sunni-Shiite fighting that pushed the country to the brink of civil war in 2006-2007.
But insurgents maintain the ability to stage high-profile attacks while sectarian and ethnic rivalries continue to tear at the fabric of national unity.
The symbolism of Tuesday’s attacks was strong, coming 10 years to the day, Washington time, that former President George W Bush announced the start of hostilities against Iraq.
It was already early March 20, 2003, in Iraq when the airstrikes began.
The military action quickly ousted Saddam Hussein but led to years of bloodshed as Sunni and Shiite militants battled US forces and each other, leaving nearly 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis killed.