A series of attacks including a blast near an Internet cafe in a Sunni area of Baghdad killed nine people and wounded dozens on Sunday in and around the Iraqi capital.
The attacks came amid heightened sectarian tension following a deadly security crackdown on a camp in northern Iraq run by Sunnis, protesting what they consider to be their second-class treatment by the Shiite-led government. Government investigators say the April 23 incident left 40 people dead, while a spate of follow-up attacks and battles has killed well over 200 more.
The bloodshed has raised fears that the country could be heading for a new wave of sectarian fighting like that which nearly pushed it to the brink of civil war in the middle of the last decade.
Police officials said that the first attack occurred Sunday morning when a bomb went off near Zein al-Abideen mosque in the western suburbs of Baghdad. One passerby was killed, six others were wounded and the outer wall of the mosque was damaged.
Hours later, police said, gunmen stormed the house of a district mayor in Mahmoudiya town, killing the mayor and his son. Mahmoudiya is 30 kilometers south of Baghdad.
At night, police said that a bomb exploded near an Internet cafe in a Sunni neighborhood in western Baghdad, killing three people and wounding 13 others.
Minutes later, three people were killed and 14 others wounded when mortar shells landed on houses on the western edge of Baghdad.
Hospital officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
Violence has ebbed in Iraq, yet insurgent attacks are still frequent.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that his government will continue to follow up on fake bomb detectors sold to Iraq years ago by a British businessman, according to a statement posted on the prime minister’s web site.
Al-Maliki’s comments came days after a British judge sentenced James McCormick to 10 years in jail for selling fake bomb detectors to several countries, saying the millionaire had shown a cavalier disregard for potentially fatal consequences.
Al-Maliki added that Iraqi authorities had taken the necessary measures regarding this issue a long time ago and that some of the people involved were convicted. He did not elaborate.