A rapid series of attacks spread over a wide swath of Iraq killed at least 55 people on Thursday, targeting mostly security forces in what Iraqi officials called "frantic attempts" by insurgents to show civilians that their country was doomed to violence for years to come.
The apparently coordinated bombings and shootings unfolded over hours in the capital Baghdad where most of the deaths occurred and 11 other cities. They struck government offices, restaurants and one in the town of Musayyib hit close to a primary school. At least 225 people were wounded.
If the insurgents' goal was to show Iraqis how precarious their situation is, it appeared to be working.
"What is happening today are not simple security violations, it is a huge security failure and disaster," said Ahmed al-Tamimi, who was working at an Education Ministry office a block away from a restaurant that was bombed in the Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah in northern Baghdad. He described a hellish scene of human flesh and pools of blood at the restaurant.
"We want to know: What were the thousands of policemen and soldiers in Baghdad doing today while the terrorists were roaming the city and spreading violence?" al-Tamimi said.
It was the latest of a series of large-scale attack