84 killed in attacks across Iraq

Series of bombings, drive-by shootings as battered al-Qaeda shows strength

84 killed in attacks across Iraq

Trail of destruction: The site of a bus explosion in Iskandiriyah, 50 km south of Baghdad, on Monday. AFP

The attacks in different parts of Baghdad and in towns to the south, north and west of the capital appeared aimed at showing Iraqis that al-Qaeda in Iraq was still a potent force despite suffering battlefield defeats in recent weeks.

At least 40 were killed and 135 wounded in the triple blasts outside the textile factory in the city of Hillah south of Baghdad, said Muthana Khalid, spokesman for the Babil provincial police.

Khalid said the man, who had explosives strapped to his belt, detonated himself among a crowd of people who were trying to help victims of the two earlier car bombs. The bombs exploded around 1:30 pm local time as workers were leaving the factory. Police said the cars were parked outside the factory, about 25 yards apart, and were believed to be detonated by remote control.

Hillah, Babil’s provincial capital, is 95 km south of Baghdad.It was the latest and deadliest single attack in the spate of violence across Iraq the day that began in Baghdad with early morning drive-by shootings and bombings at security checkpoints — an apparent targeted assault on police and army.

Chilling reminder
Overall, however, the attacks appeared to be indiscriminate.
They targeted Sunni and Shiite areas alike and delivered a chilling reminder that Iraq is far from free of violence despite security gains by Iraqi and US forces to protect the country from insurgents.

Violence in the city and the rest of the country has fallen dramatically since the height of the insurgency in 2006 and 2007. But with two months gone after Iraq’s March 7 election and no government in sight, there are concerns that the sectarian violence that once battered the city daily will reappear.

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