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Friday, December 19, 2014  

Wave of attacks leave 22 dead, 83 hurt in Iraq
BAGHDAD The toll from a wave of attacks across Iraq on Monday has risen to 22 dead and at least 83 wounded, security and medical officials said.

A total of 15 shootings and bombings struck 13 cities and towns in the north, central and south of Iraq, the officials said. Previously, the toll was put at 12 dead and more than 40 wounded.

In the deadliest attack, seven people, three women, two children and two men, were killed when three houses were blown up in the town of Mussayib, south of Baghdad, police and a medic said. Four others were wounded.

Five policemen were killed by a roadside bomb in Kirkuk, four people died in a suicide car bomb in Baghdad, and attacks in the cities of Hilla and Mosul killed two people each.

One person each was killed in Latifiyah and Tuz Khurmatu.

Tensions between different factions in Iraq’s power-sharing government have been on the rise this year. Militants strike almost daily and have staged at least one big attack a month.

The latest violence followed more than a week of protests against Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki by thousands of people from the minority community.

No group claimed responsibility for any of Monday’s attacks, which targeted government officials, police patrols and members of both the sects.

“We heard the sound of a big explosion and the windows of our office shattered. We immediately lay on the ground,” said 28-year-old Mohammed Ahmed, who works at a hospital near the site of the explosion in Hilla.  

“After a few minutes I stood up and went to the windows to see what happened. I saw flames and people lying on the ground.”

Although violence is far lower than during the sectarian slaughter of 2006-2007, about 2,000 people have been killed in Iraq this year following the withdrawal last December of US troops, who led an invasion in 2003 to overthrow dictator Saddam Hussein.  

Monday’s violence also included a series of blasts that killed three people in Iraq’s disputed territories, over which both the central government and the autonomous Kurdish region claim jurisdiction.  

Baghdad and Kurdistan are locked in a feud over land and oil rights and recently deployed their respective armies to the swathe of territory along their contested internal boundary, where they are currently facing off against one other.  

Agencies
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