Car bombs and mortar attacks kill at least 17 in Iraq


At least 17 people were killed in violence across Iraq on Saturday, including by car bombs and a mortar attack on a Shi’ite Muslim village, police and medical sources said.

The deadliest attack took place in a village near the Iraqi city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, where three mortar bombs killed six people, police said.

A woman and a child were among the victims, five of whom belonged to the same family, the police said, adding that the assailants might have been aiming at a nearby police station.

Violence in Iraq climbed back to its highest level in five years in 2013, when nearly 9,000 people were killed, most of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for any of the latest attacks, but Sunni Islamist militants, some linked to al Qaeda, have been regaining momentum in Iraq, emboldened by the conflict in neighboring Syria, where they are also active.

A bomb near a grocery market killed two people and wounded seven in the mainly Sunni district of Saydiya in southern Baghdad, police said.

In western Baghdad, a car bomb in a busy street killed three people and wounded 12 in Amriya district, police said.

Two car bombs blew up simultaneously in the disputed northern town of Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (100 miles) north of Baghdad, killing four people and wounding nine, police and medics said.

In other incidents, two policemen were killed and four wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in Balad, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

Sunni Muslim insurgents often target the security forces, as well as Shi’ite civilians and Sunni tribal militiamen paid by the Shi’ite-led government to combat al Qaeda-linked groups.