A wave of car bombs, which appeared to be coordinated, rocked busy streets in several parts of Iraq on Monday, killing at least 60 people in predominantly Shiite districts.
The bombings were concentrated on towns and cities in Iraq’s mainly Shiite south, and areas of Baghdad where the Shiites live.
In Baghdad’s Shiite stronghold of Sadr city, police and witnesses said a minivan drew up to a group of men waiting by the side of the road for day work, and the driver told them to get in before detonating an explosive device in the vehicle, according to Reuters.
“The driver asked laborers to get into the van, then he disappeared and minutes later the truck exploded, flinging the laborers’ bodies back,” Yahya Ali, a worker who was standing nearby, told Reuters.
“Somebody tell me please why poor laborers are targeted? They want only to take food to their families!,” he said.
Militant groups including al-Qaeda have increased attacks in recent months in an insurgency against the Shiite-led government as a civil war in neighboring Syria heightens sectarian tensions, according to Reuters.
More than 770 people have been killed in violence in July and over 3,000 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.
Last week several al-Qaeda members fled during assaults on Taji and Abu Ghraib prisons.
A security official told Reuters that today’s attacks were linked to the prison breaks.
“Today’s attacks are closely linked with the Taji and Abu Ghraib prison breaks, which have encouraged terrorist groups to launch further attacks in areas of a specific sect to put more pressure on the government and undermine security force morale,” Hakim Al-Zamili, a senior member of the security and defense committee in parliament, told Reuters.
(With Reuters and AFP)