25 July 2013, 23:31

Bombings and shootings kill 31 across Iraq

ирак взрыв ирак автомобиль смертник

At least 31 people were killed in bombings and shootings across Iraq on Thursday, police said. In the deadliest attack, a bomb in a parked car exploded in a busy market killing 15 people in central Muqdadiya, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of the capital Baghdad, police said.

A bomb near a cafe in Madain south of Baghdad killed at least two.

One report said the blast happened in a crowded cafe where people had been gathering after dark to break the daily Ramadan fast.

Correspondents say night cafes have become frequent targets of militants recently.

And the bodies of 14 Shia Muslims with gunshot wounds to the head were found at a fake checkpoint set up by Sunni militants 200km north of Baghdad.

Local officials said the checkpoint was maintained for half an hour, during which militants checked documents and summarily killed those drivers who they found to be Shia.

The attack followed a major assault on the nearby town of Suleiman Bek which drew security forces away from the road.

Thousands of people have died this year in a wave of unrest.

The attack comes three days after a mass prison escape.

A local al-Qaeda affiliate said it had organised the breakout, in which hundreds of inmates left two jails after an attack by gunmen.

On Thursday parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi warned that the escape could worsen the country's already deteriorating security situation.

Gunmen execute 14 Shiite truck drivers in Iraq

Sunni militants summarily executed at least 14 Shiites on Thursday after setting up a roadblock north of Baghdad, stopping trucks and checking the IDs of drivers, Iraqi officials said.

The nighttime attack was reminiscent of the darkest days of the Sunni-Shiite sectarian bloodshed in Iraq in 2006-2007, when thousands of people were killed because of their religious affiliation or forced to abandon their homes under threat of death.

Lingering tensions between Sunnis and Shiites have been inflamed by persistent violence in Iraq and the civil war in neighbouring Syria, and there are growing fears that the country is slipping back towards all-out sectarian conflict.

Two local officials said some 150 militants carried out a coordinated operation during the night that included the highway killings, in the area of Sulaiman Bek, a town north of Baghdad.

The militants began by attacking the town itself with mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons late on Wednesday.

Voice of Russia, Reuters, BBC, AFP

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