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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The death toll in a string of bombs and other attacks in Iraq on Monday rose to 50, with at least 144 wounded, police and hospital sources said.
The explosions included car bombs in and around the Iraqi capital Baghdad and in the northern oil city of Kirkuk as well as other attacks by gunmen in the restive Diyala province.
BAGHDAD: Car bombs in two towns south of Baghdad and in the Iraqi cities of Najaf and Mosul killed a total of 22 people Sunday and wounded 89, police and hospital sources said, in one of the most violent days of the past two weeks.
At the end of the day’s Ramadan fast at sundown two cars exploded in the Sunni-dominated town of Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometers south of Baghdad. A car exploded around 7 p.m. in a parking lot for minibuses in the town. As emergency services sprang into action, a second car blew up, according to police at the scene.
No group has claimed responsibility for the latest wave of assaults but a senior Iraqi security official blamed the local wing of al Qaeda, made up of Sunni Muslim militants hostile to the Shi'ite-led government, which is friendly with Iran.
"Recent attacks are a clear message that AL Qaeda in Iraq is determined to spark a bloody sectarian war," the official said, asking not to be named.
local wing of al Qaeda
which is friendly with Iran
AL Qaeda in Iraq is determined to spark a bloody sectarian war
The attacks come days after a man purporting to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, declared a new offensive to retake areas it retreated from before US soldiers left the country last December.
"The majority of Sunnis in Iraq support al-Qaeda and are waiting for its return," the man said, according to Associated Press, in an audio message posted on militant websites.