Bombs against Kurds, other attacks in Iraq kill 40

BAGHDAD (AP) — A double bombing tore through Kurdish
political party offices in northern Iraq in the deadliest of a series of
attacks nationwide that killed at least 40 people, officials said. It
was the second such assault in as many days.
Nobody claimed
responsibility for Monday’s attack. But an al-Qaida splinter group known
as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for
the previous double bombing Sunday against Kurdish offices in Jalula,
northwest of Baghdad, killing 19 people. The group said in an online
statement that the bombings in Jalula were in response to the detention
of Muslim women by authorities in the self-rule Kurdish region in
northern Iraq.
Iraq is grappling with its worst surge in violence
since the sectarian bloodletting of 2006 and 2007, when the country was
pushed to the brink of civil war despite the presence of tens of
thousands of U.S. troops. The Americans withdrew at the end of 2011.
Monday’s
attack took place in the town of Tuz Khormato, about 200 kilometers
(130 miles) north of Baghdad, when a suicide bomber drove his
explosives-laden truck into a checkpoint leading up to the offices of
the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the nearby Kurdistan Communist
Party.
Mayor Shalal Abdoul said another truck bomb exploded,
presumably detonated by remote control, as people rushed to the scene of
the first attack. The blasts killed 22 people, wounded as many as 150
and destroyed several houses and cars, he said.
The Patriotic
Union of Kurdistan of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is one of the main
parties governing the Kurdish region in northern Iraq and maintains
offices in other areas that are heavily dominated by the ethnic
minority.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is composed of
Sunni insurgents who stage frequent high-profile bombings aimed at
derailing the Shiite-dominated government and its Kurdish allies.
Attacks
have spiked as Islamic State and other insurgents have strengthened
their control over parts of Iraq’s western Anbar province and exploited
widespread Sunni anger over alleged mistreatment by the government.
Also
Monday, gunmen opened fire on a security checkpoint in the town of
Kanaan, about 75 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, killing
four soldiers and two police officers, police said.
And in the
Iraqi capital, gunmen killed a real estate agent after spraying his
office with bullets in a western neighborhood, police said. A bomb blast
also killed a government employee in eastern Baghdad, police said.
Police
also said a bomb on a boat destroyed a Euphrates River bridge linking a
road between the Anbar city of Fallujah and southeastern Baghdad. No
casualties were reported.
Shortly before sunset, a suicide bomber
drove his explosive-laden tanker truck into the gate of a military unit
in the northern city of Mosul, killing three soldiers and wounding 15,
police said.
At night, a car bomb explosion in a square in
Baghdad’s eastern Shiite district of Sadr City, killing four people and
wounding nine others. Minutes later, two separate bomb attacks in two
districts in Baghdad killed three people and wounded seven, according to
officials.
Medical officials confirmed the casualties for all
attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were
not authorized to speak to journalists.
Meanwhile, the head of
Anbar’s provincial council, Sabah al-Karhout, said 15 Anbar University
staff members were still missing after a brazen attack by gunmen who
stormed a campus building on Saturday.
The situation has largely
been brought under control, but Karhout told reporters Monday that
university authorities have said about 15 staffers are still missing,
likely held by a group of gunmen in a campus building. More than $10
million was looted from the university safe, he said.