Iraqi capital rocked by car bomb and series of checkpoint shootings believed to have been targeted at police officials
At least 35 people have been killed in a series of bombings and shootings in Baghdad that officials say were targeted at police officers.
In the worst attack, a car bomb went off near a security checkpoint in the Iraqi capital’s downtown shopping district of Karradah, killing nine people and wounding 26, including four policemen, officials said.
Footage of the scene showed bloodied victims walking away from several damaged shopfronts and charred vehicles.
At least eight more bombs exploded during the morning across Baghdad, killing 18 more people. And on opposite sides of the capital, gunmen with silenced pistols killed eight policemen at security checkpoints, officials said. The casualties were confirmed by Baghdad hospital officials.
Attacks outside the capital in Baqouba, Kirkuk and in Salahuddin provinces were also reported over a two-hour period.
Officials in Baqouba said a suicide bomber blew up his car outside a police station near a market. Two people were killed and eight wounded.
In Kirkuk, two police patrols were hit by roadside bombs. Twenty policemen were injured in the attacks, said Major General Sarhat Qadir.
Bombs in the town of Tuz Khormato, outside Kirkuk, wounded three guards at the office of a Kurdish political party. And south of Baghdad, eight policemen were wounded by a roadside bomb in the town of Madain.
Iraq’s police are generally considered to be the weakest element of the country’s security forces. Earlier this week, 20 policemen and recruits were killed by a suicide bomber outside the Baghdad police academy that angry residents blamed on political feuding.
The country has been besieged by political turbulence that began the day after US troops pulled out of Iraq, when an arrest warrant was issued for Sunni vice president Tariq al-Hashemi on charges he commandeered death squads targeting security forces and government officials.
Al-Hashemi, the country’s highest-ranking Sunni, has denied the charges that he described as politically motivated, and blamed the Shia-led government of trying to unseat him. Experts worry the case will hike Iraq’s already-simmering sectarian tensions.
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