Baghdad – A wave of attacks across Iraq on Monday killed 107 people in the country’s deadliest day in more than two years after al-Qaeda warned it would mount new attacks and sought to retake territory.
Officials said at least 214 people were wounded in 27 different attacks launched in 18 cities, shattering a relative calm which had held in the lead-up to the start on Saturday of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
In Monday’s deadliest attack – a string of roadside bombs and a car bomb followed by a suicide attack targeting emergency responders in the town of Taji – at least 42 people were killed and 40 wounded, according to two medical officials.
“I heard explosions in the distance so I left my house and I saw a car outside,” said 40-year-old Taji resident Abu Mohammed, who added that police inspectors concluded the vehicle was a car bomb. We asked the neighbours to leave their houses, but when they were leaving, the bomb went off.”
Abu Mohammed said he witnessed the deaths of an elderly woman carrying a newborn baby and of the policeman who had first concluded the car was packed with explosives. An AFP reporter at the scene said a row of houses were completely destroyed, and residents were rummaging through the rubble in search of victims and their belongings.
In Baghdad, meanwhile, a car bomb outside a government office responsible for producing identity papers in the Shi’ite bastion of Sadr City killed at least 12 people and wounded 22 others, security and medical officials said.
“This attack is a terrible crime against humanity, because they did it during Ramadan, while people are fasting,” said one elderly witness who declined to be identified.