Death toll from Iraq attacks rises
Two bombs killed nine people in Iraq late yesterday, police and hospital sources said, taking to 116 the death toll in a string of coordinated bomb and gun attacks against mostly Shia Muslim targets.
A car bomb exploded near a cafe in the Shia Ameen district in southeastern Baghdad, killing six men and wounding 24 others as they sat smoking shisha water pipes and drinking tea.
Three other people died when a roadside bomb went off near their mini-bus about 20 km west of Baquba, a city northeast of Baghdad. Seven others were wounded in the blast,
The attacks took to at least 299 the number of people wounded in the bloodiest day of violence to hit Iraq this year.
The bloodshed, which coincided with an intensifying of the conflict in neighbouring Syria, highlighted deficiencies in the Iraqi security forces, which failed to prevent insurgents from striking in multiple locations across the country.
No group has claimed responsibility for the wave of assaults but a senior Iraqi security official accused the local wing of al-Qaeda, made up of Sunni Muslim militants hostile to the Shia-led government, which is friendly with Iran.
Sectarian slaughter peaked in 2006-2007, but deadly attacks have persisted while political tensions among Iraq's main Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions have increased since US troops completed their withdrawal in December.