Violence has been on the rise across Iraq since a deadly crackdown by government forces on a Sunni protest camp in April, and attacks against civilians and security forces notably spiked during Ramzan.
The surge of attacks has sparked fears that the country could see a new round of widespread sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.The bloodshed, the worst in five years, also comes after Iraqi security forces promised to step up efforts to increase security to protect the public during the Eid ul-Fitr celebrations that mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramzan.
"My shop’s windows were smashed and smoke filled the whole area," said shoe shop owner Saif Mousa, who survived an attack near his store in New Baghdad. "I went outside of the shop and I could hardly see because of the smoke. ... At the end, we had a terrible day that was supposed to be nice because of Eid."
Many of the attacks occurred within an hour of each other, suggesting a level of coordination in the assaults. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, though security forces and civilians are frequently targeted by al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch.
US department of state spokeswoman Jen Psaki condemned the attacks, saying in a statement that they are similar to suicide and vehicle bomb attacks in the country in the past month-and-a-half conducted by al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch.