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28 dead as Iraq rocked by spate of attacks

Tuesday's deadliest attack occurred in Karbala, where two roadside blasts killed more than a dozen people

Gulf News

Baghad: Near-simultaneous attacks in several Iraqi cities killed at least 28 people Tuesday on the anniversary of the US-led invasion of the country, just days before Baghdad hosts a landmark Arab summit.

Officials said that more than 130 people were wounded in the spate of gun and bomb attacks that rocked towns and cities spanning the northern oil-rich hub of Kirkuk and the southern shrine city of Karbala between 7am (0400 GMT) and 9am (0600 GMT).

Tuesday's deadliest attack occurred in Karbala, where two roadside blasts at the entrance to the city killed 13 people and wounded 48, according to provincial health spokesman Jamal Mehdi.

Police spokesman Major Alaa Abbas of Karbala, which is south of Baghdad and home to the shrines of revered Shiite clerics Imam Hussain and Imam Abbas, confirmed the toll.

A car bomb targeting a police office in the ethnically-mixed city of Kirkuk, meanwhile, killed nine policemen and wounded 42 people, the vast majority of them police, according to Dr Mohammad Abdullah at the city's hospital.

"We have also received parts of bodies, but we do not know who they belong to," Abdullah said.

A car bomb in the central town of Hilla, south of the capital, killed two people and wounded 31 others, provincial security committee chief Haidar Al Zambur said. The toll was confirmed by Ali Mohammed at Hilla hospital.

A car bomb set off by a suicide attacker in central Baghdad killed two people and wounded eight, security and medical officials said.

Separate gun and bomb attacks in Salah Al Deen province killed two people, including a city councillor, police said.

Bombings in the refinery town of Baiji, and the northern towns of Daquq and Al Dhuluiyah left 17 people wounded.

The attacks come on the ninth anniversary of the beginning of the US-led invasion of Iraq which ousted Saddam Hussain, and just days before Baghdad hosts an Arab League summit, the first meeting of the 22-nation body to be held in the capital since Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Violence across the country is down from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common. A total of 150 Iraqis were killed in February, according to official figures.