Last updated: 18 March, 2014

Iraq bombings leave seven dead as elections loom

Attacks in Baghdad and across central Iraq, including seven car bombs, killed at least 10 people on Tuesday amid a surge in violence ahead of a general election next month.

The blasts, which also wounded nearly 50 people, come with Iraq suffering its worst level of violence since 2008, when the country was emerging from brutal sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

The surge in unrest has been driven principally by discontent among Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria, and has killed more than 2,000 people already this year, according to an AFP tally.

Attacks on Tuesday struck in Baghdad, as well as in nearby Karbala, Diyala, Salaheddin, Babil and Wasit provinces, killing at least 10 people and wounding 47, security and medical officials said.

Separate blasts in the capital — a car bomb and a roadside bomb — left three people dead, while vehicles rigged with explosives were also set off near Karbala, Hilla, Baiji and Hafriyah, killing six more.

A magnetic “sticky bomb” in Diyala province killed a municipal council member.

Violence in Iraq has reached a level not seen since sectarian bloodletting in 2006 and 2007 left tens of thousands of people dead.

More than 250 people have been killed so far this month and upwards of 2,000 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on reports from security and medical sources.