New bombings mar holy month of Ramadan in Baghdad

A series of bombings killed at least 33 people and wounded dozens in Baghdad on Sunday. The attacks come two days after US commander for Baghdad Major General Jeffery Hammond said the city had so far witnessed the quietest Ramadan in three years.


At least 33 people were killed in a spate of bombings in Baghdad on Sunday, including three attacks which struck as Iraqis marked the end of the daily Ramadan fast, security officials said.

A bomb in a minibus parked near a Shiite mosque in Baghdad's Shurta  neighbourhood killed 12 people and wounded 35 others, the officials told AFP. A second car bombing killed one person and wounded another in Hai al-Amil.

Both attacks took place in the western Baghdad neighbourhoods just minutes before the end of the daily Ramadan dawn-to-dusk fast.

A medic at Baghdad's Yarmuk hospital confirmed receiving bodies of at least six victims.

A third attack involving a car bomb and a roadside bomb in the central Karrada district killed 19 people and wounded 72, the officials said, adding the dead included three policemen and three women.

But state television Al-Iraqiya said that the bombing in Karrada involved a car bomb and a suicide bomber.

According to the report, a parked car exploded and immediately after that a suicide bomber blew himself up amid a crowd of people who had gathered near the site of the blast.

Earlier, one person was killed and three wounded by a roadside bomb in the capital's once upscale western district of Mansur, security officials said.

The bombings on Sunday come two days after US commander for Baghdad Major General Jeffery Hammond said the city had so far witnessed the quietest Ramadan in three years but added that the past few days had seen a spike in attacks.

He said the first 21 days of Ramadan saw 60 attacks in Baghdad compared with 600 in 2007 and 800 in 2006 -- the year when sectarian violence erupted across Iraq.

Violence then was deadliest in the capital. However, Hammond said Baghdad was currently witnessing "4.2 attacks per day, 89 percent less than in 2006 and 83 (percent) less than in 2007."

Hammond noted that there had been a spike in violence over the past few days as is the case during Ramadan, but said this was not reversing the overall downward trend.

"I don't think it's a sectarian issue, I see it as criminality, and some kind of efforts by Al-Qaeda to disrupt the process. I attribute it to the Ramadan, and also low level Al-Qaeda attempts," he said.

Also on Sunday a Kurdish mayor of a northern Iraqi town was wounded in a roadside bombing in Saadiyah near the Kurdish-dominated city of Khanaqin, along with six of his guards, police said.

Saadiyah mayor Ahmad al-Zarqushi survived the attack, police Major Shriko Baajilan said. "The mayor and six of his men were wounded."

The attack came a day after a member of the Kurdish peshmerga security forces was killed when Iraqi police raided a peshmerga post in the nearby troubled town of Jalawla, also near Khanaqin in the restive province of Diyala.

Tension is high between Iraqi forces and peshmerga who moved into the region after they were asked to help a drive against Al-Qaeda insurgents in the unruly province of Diyala, where Jalawla is a Kurdish enclave.

Peshmerga are former Kurdish guerrillas who fought against the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein and led a campaign for autonomy for the Iraqi Kurdish minority in northern parts of the country.

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