55 killed, 300 wounded in Iraq bombings (Second lead)

August 10th, 2009 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Aug 10 (DPA) A series of bombings across Iraq Monday killed at least 55 people and injured more than 300, police and witnesses said.
In the deadliest of the early morning attacks, 30 people were killed and at least 155 wounded when two trucks packed with explosives detonated in a village in the district of Hamdania, near the northern city of Mosul, witnesses told DPA.

The blasts destroyed dozens of homes in the village inhabited mostly by members of Iraq’s predominantly Shia Shabback minority.

Sunni lawmaker Osama al-Najifi implicated Iran in the violence in Mosul, and called on the government to deploy more troops around the city.

“There is a security gap in Mosul, between the area controlled by the government and (the area) occupied by Kurdish Peshmerga (militia) forces,” al-Najifi said.

“We have arrested eight Arabs who entered Kurdistan through Iran,” he said. “They stayed there for a while, then they came to Mosul to carry out terrorist attacks,” he told DPA.

Al-Najifi said that the bombings near Mosul took place in an area that is controlled by Peshmerga forces only.

“The solution to end this crisis in Mosul is to extend the authority of the Iraqi army throughout the city and to the provincial borders,” he said. “The government should deploy more forces to ensure security and stability.”

However, Turkman Shia lawmaker, Abbas al-Bayati rules out this reason, saying that they are “devoid of truth and there is no evidence to prove it”.

Al-Bayati, who is a member of the Iraq’s security and defence committee, said outside forces were behind the attacks that aimed to the parliamentary elections, scheduled for January.

“Police forces have a clear control over the city. We have to admit that such attacks are funded by countries that seek to destabilize the security and political scene in Iraq,” he said.

Some 400 km to the south, at least 25 people were killed and 149 injured in separate attacks throughout Baghdad.

The deadliest of these blasts was when two car bombs exploded in two Shia areas in southwest Baghdad, where daily labourers gather each morning, leaving 23 killed and around 130 wounded.

That attack was followed by a blast near the northern city of Kirkuk, the subject of a simmering dispute between the central government in Baghdad and the government of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

Two members of a Sunni Muslim, government-allied militia were killed by a roadside bomb, police in Kirkuk said. Five others were rushed to hospital for treatment.

Sectarian violence between the country’s Sunnis and Shias has increased sharply in recent weeks, with a wave of bomb attacks near Mosul and in Baghdad and western Iraq claiming dozens of lives.

Mosul and its environs, one of the country’s most ethnically and religiously diverse areas, remain the site of near-daily, deadly attacks despite successive security sweeps that police say have netted hundreds of suspected insurgents this year.

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