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23 killed in blasts across Iraq: police

world Updated: Sep 30, 2012 16:56 IST

AFP
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Bombs striking Shiite neighbourhoods, security forces and other targets across Iraq on Sunday killed at least 23 people, officials said.

It was the latest instance in which insurgents launched coordinate attacks in multiple cities across the country in a single day, apparently intending to rekindle widespread sectarian conflict and undermine public confidence in the beleaguered government.

The deadliest attack came in the town of Taji, a former al Qaeda stronghold just north of Baghdad, where three explosive-rigged cars went off within minutes of each other.

Police said eight people died and 28 were injured in the back-to-back blasts that began around 7:15 am.

In all, at least 82 people were wounded in the wave of attacks that stretched from the restive but oil-rich city of Kirkuk in Iraq's north to the southern Shiite town of Kut.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the violence, but car bombs are a hallmark of al Qaeda in Iraq.

The militant network has vowed to take back areas of the country, like Taji, from which the Sunni insurgent network was pushed before US troops withdrew last December.

Shortly after the Taji attacks, police said a suicide bomber set off his explosives-packed car in the Shiite neighbourhood of Shula in northwest Baghdad. One person was killed and seven wounded. Police could not immediately identify the target.

"So many people were hurt. A leg of a person was amputated," lamented Shula resident Naeem Frieh.

"What have those innocent people done to deserve this?"

Within an hour, another suicide bomber drove a minibus into a security checkpoint in Kut, located 160 kilometres southeast of Baghdad.

Three police officers were killed and five wounded, Maj Gen Hussein Abdul-Hadi Mahbob said.