Iraq bombings kill 34 people

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Bombings in Iraq killed 34 people on Wednesday as tensions fester between the Shiite Muslim-led government and the Sunni minority, with a series of blasts mainly targeting Shiite areas of Baghdad.

Car bombs hit Kadhimiyah and Sadr City in north Baghdad, Saidiyah in the south and Mashtal, Baghdad Jadida and Al-Husseiniyah in the east, killing 19 people and wounding 58, while a roadside bomb in the Zafraniyah area killed two police, security and medical officials said.

AFP journalists heard the sound of explosions in central Baghdad, and saw a number of ambulances on the street.

Meanwhile, Iraqiya state television quoted the security command responsible for Baghdad as saying four more car bombs were defused in the capital.

No group claimed responsibility for the violence, but coordinated attacks are a favored tactic of Sunni militants linked to Al-Qaeda.

A car bomb in Kirkuk was the day’s deadliest single attack, killing eight people and wounding another eight.

It was followed by a roadside bomb targeting the Kirkuk police chief’s convoy and a car bomb that exploded nearby, killing two people and wounding nine between them.

Charred human remains were placed in a bag on a stretcher at the site of one of the bombings in Kirkuk. An emergency worker broke down in tears nearby, squatting in the rubble-strewn street.

At the scene of another blast, emergency workers hosed down a mangled car with burned bodies, including what appeared to be the blackened face of a child, visible inside.

In Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle attacked a police checkpoint, killing a policeman and wounding four people.

Attacks in the northern city of Mosul killed two policemen and wounded two more.

The Wednesday violence came a day after attacks killed 16 people in Iraq, including 12 shot dead when gunmen attacked a row of alcohol shops in Baghdad.

Tensions are high between the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, and members of the country’s Sunni minority who accuse authorities of targeting their community, including through wrongful detentions and accusations of involvement in terrorism.

Protests broke out in Sunni areas of Iraq almost five months ago. While the government has made some concessions, such as freeing prisoners and raising the salaries of Sunni anti-Al-Qaeda fighters, underlying issues have not been addressed.

On April 23, security forces moved on protesters near the town of Hawijah in Kirkuk province, sparking clashes that killed 53 people.

Dozens more died in subsequent unrest that included revenge attacks targeting security forces. That raised fears of a return to the all-out sectarian conflict that claimed tens of thousands of lives between 2006 and 2008.

Violence in Iraq has fallen from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common, killing more than 200 people in each of the first four months of this year.

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