Last updated: 9 September, 2012

Attack on checkpoint kills 11 Iraqi soldiers

A wave of more than 25 attacks across Iraq killed 56 people and wounded more than 300 on Saturday and Sunday, security and medical sources said, with the security forces and markets among the targets.

The latest violence brings the number of people killed so far this month to 86, according to an AFP tally based on those sources.

While insurgents opposed to the Baghdad government are regarded as weaker than in past years, they are still capable of launching periodic mass-casualty attacks across the country.

The latest attacks came as Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi was sentenced in absentia on Sunday to hang for murder, although most of the violence occurred before the sentence was handed down.

Violence is down significantly from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks across Iraq still occur regularly.

In the deadliest attack, two car bombs exploded in a market on Sunday near the shrine of Imam Ali al-Sharqi in the south, a security official said.

Dr Ali al-Alaa, a Maysan province health department official, said the blasts killed 14 people and wounded 60.

Before midnight on Saturday, gunmen assaulted an army checkpoint near Balad north of Baghdad and a roadside bomb exploded when additional soldiers arrived at the scene.

Eleven soldiers, including two officers, were killed and eight were wounded, an army colonel and a medical source at Balad hospital said.

A police captain was also shot dead on Saturday night in the town of Garma, security and medical officials said.

Early on Sunday, a car bomb exploded in a car park at the state-owned North Oil Company in Kirkuk in north Iraq, after which two other bombings in the city killed 10 people and wounding 153, said Sadiq Omar Rasul, the head of the Kirkuk health directorate.

The two bombings in Kirkuk left body parts strewn in the streets, destroyed cars and damaged government buildings, an AFP correspondent said.

West of Kirkuk, a car bomb seriously wounded six soldiers, army Captain Taha Khalaf said, while another in Hawija, also west of the city, wounded two people, security and medical sources said.

Volatile, oil-rich Kirkuk province is part of a swathe of disputed territory in northern Iraq that the autonomous Kurdistan region wants to incorporate over opposition from Baghdad.

Three soldiers were killed in clashes with insurgents in the Abu Ghraib area west of Baghdad, an interior ministry official and a medical source from Abu Ghraib hospital said.

And three car bombs in Taji north of the capital killed one person and wounded at least seven, while five roadside bombs exploded in and around Baquba, killing a soldier and wounding 17 people, security and medical officials said.

In the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, a sniper shot dead a soldier, the military and a medic said.

In Nasiriyah south of Baghdad, a bomb exploded near a French honorary consulate, causing material damage and wounding an unspecified number of people, a French diplomat said.

The city’s website put the toll from the bombing at one dead and one wounded.

The foreign ministry in Paris said in a statement it “condemns with the greatest firmness the attacks in several Iraqi cities since yesterday which have killed more than 50 people and led to hundreds being wounded.”

A car bomb also exploded outside a Nasiriyah hotel, killing two people and wounding two, local hospital head Ahmed Abdul Saheb and a security source said.

Attacks in Tuz Khurmatu north of Baghdad killed four people, including a police captain, and wounded 31, the local mayor and police said.

In the southern port of Basra, a car bomb in a market killed three people and wounded at least 20, police and a medical official said.

In Tal Afar northwest of Baghdad, a car bombing killed two people and wounded seven, police and a medic said.

South of Samarra, a city north of Baghdad, another car bomb killed two police, including Colonel Thair Idris, and wounded two, a police lieutenant colonel and a medical source said.

And a car bomb in Mosul wounded seven civilians, while three police officers were wounded by another car bombing west of the city, security and medical officials said.