Attacks including series of bombings kill 31 in Iraq

AFP , Sunday 14 Jul 2013

Analysts say widespread discontent among members of its Sunni Arab minority which the Shiite-led government has failed to address has driven the spike in unrest

Violence including an apparently-coordinated series of bombings that struck central and south Iraq on Sunday killed 31 people, security sources and medics said, bringing the July death toll to more than 370.

The attacks are just the latest in a surge in violence in which more than 2,600 people have died so far this year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

Iraq has faced years of attacks by militants, but analysts say widespread discontent among members of its Sunni Arab minority which the Shiite-led government has failed to address has driven the spike in unrest.

Sunday was the fourth day in a row in which more than 30 people were killed in attacks, and an average of 26 people have died per day in unrest in Iraq over the first two weeks of July.

Both senior politicians and religious leaders have remained silent about the wave of violence.

The deadliest attacks struck central and south Iraq on Sunday evening.

In Kut, a car bomb near a bakery killed nine people and wounded 42, while another car bomb wounded two policemen to the north of Hilla.

A car bomb also struck a market in Karbala, a city home to one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam, killing four people and wounding 19.

Another car bomb exploded in Nasiriyah, killing two people and wounding 25.

And in the southern port city of Basra, a sound bomb, a car bomb and a roadside bomb exploded, killing eight people and wounded 35.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but coordinated series of bombings are a favoured tactic of Al-Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate.

Five other people were killed in Nineveh province in Iraq's north.

A roadside bomb killed district councillor Mohammed Obaid Sultan south of Mosul, the province's capital, along with one of his sons. Another son was wounded.

The head of the same Hamam al-Alil district council, Saad Ali Shuwait, was targeted by another roadside bomb, which wounded four of his guards.

In Mosul itself, two soldiers were shot dead at a checkpoint.

And a policeman was shot dead and another wounded in an attack on a checkpoint south of the city, while a roadside bomb targeted Nineveh police chief Brigadier General Khaled al-Hamdani's convoy, wounding three of his guards.

In Fallujah, west of Baghdad, gunmen shot dead police Lieutenant Colonel Iyad al-Samarraie and wounded two of his guards near a mosque.

And a roadside bomb near a restaurant, northwest of the Diyala provincial capital of Baquba, killed two people and wounded three.

In addition to security, the Iraqi government is also falling short when it comes to other basic functions.

Iraqis are faced with severely lacking services, including power shortages, widespread corruption and political disputes that have paralysed the government, with almost no major legislation passed in years.

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