String of bombings, shootings kill at least 20 across Iraq


At least 20 people were killed and 35 wounded in bombings and shootings in Iraq on Wednesday, police and medical sources said, the latest in a string of attacks that threaten to tilt the country back into all-out sectarian warfare.

Four suicide bombers targeted a police station in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, killing four policemen and wounding 15. Another attacked a police station just north of Ramadi, killing four officers and wounding seven, the sources said.

A roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army patrol in the western city of Qaim on the Iraqi-Syrian border. One soldier was killed and another wounded, police said.

Iraq is suffering from its worst surge in violence in at least five years, with insurgents stepping up bombing campaigns against security forces and civilians.

In the mainly Shi’ite district of Hurriya, northwest of Baghdad, gunmen opened fire on a Sunni Muslim family of five, killing all of them.

In Bayaa, another mainly Shi’ite district south of the capital, gunmen using weapons equipped with silencers opened fire at a bus terminal, killing one person and wounding three.

A roadside bomb went off in the mainly Sunni district of Doura, south of Baghdad, killing two people and wounding four. A similar device killed one person and wounded another in the mainly Shi’ite Talbiya district, north of the capital.

A mortar round killed two people and wounded four in the mainly Sunni area of Arab Jubbor, south of Baghdad, police and medics said.

No groups immediately claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks.

The government has blamed rising violence on Sunni Islamist militant groups, including al Qaeda, which have stepped up attacks this year and regained ground and influence in western Iraq.

Nearly 1,000 people were killed across the country in October, according to United Nations figures. The violence, partly fuelled by the increasingly sectarian conflict in neighboring Syria, has reached levels not seen since 2006-2007, when tens of thousands of people died.

The United Nations has called on Iraq’s feuding political leaders to cooperate to end the bloodshed, which has escalated since U.S. troops withdrew in December 2011.