Alarm grows as Iraqi forces fail to stem violence

By Adam Schreck

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, May 30 2013 1:41 p.m. MDT

"What have these innocent people done to deserve this?" asked witness Sinan Ali. "So many people were hurt. Who is responsible?"

In Baghdad's northern Shiite neighborhood of Shaab, a car bomb exploded in a commercial area, killing six civilians and wounding 17 others.

In the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah in the capital's north, a car bomb struck near a military convoy, killing three people, including two soldiers, according to police. Another 14 people were wounded in that attack.

A bomb hidden on a minibus killed three and maimed eight in the eastern mixed Sunni-Shiite New Baghdad neighborhood. And a police patrol was struck in the southern neighborhood of Saydiyah, wounding six.

Hospital officials confirmed the casualties.

In Anbar province, the provincial governor escaped an assassination attempt when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into his convoy, his deputy Dhari Arkan said. The governor escaped unharmed, but four of his guards were wounded.

Anbar is a vast Sunni-dominated province west of Baghdad that for months has been the center of protests against the Shiite-led government.

In the former insurgent stronghold city of Mosul, about 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, a suicide bomber attacked a federal police checkpoint, killing three people, according to police.

And to the west of Mosul, a suicide attacker drove his explosives-packed car into a security checkpoint, killing two members of the security forces and two civilians, according to a police officer and a doctor. Eight other people were wounded in the attacks in the town of Tal Afar, they added.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk to the media.

The United Nations envoy to Iraq, Martin Kobler, urged Iraqi leaders to do more to "pull the country out of this mayhem."

"Systemic violence is ready to explode at any moment," he said in a statement.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks but blame for many of the attacks is likely to fall on al-Qaida's Iraq arm, which frequently carries out bombings against civilians and security forces in an effort to undermine faith in the Shiite-led government.

Other militant groups have also grown more active in recent months, including the Army of the Men of the Naqshabandi Order, which has ties to members of Saddam Hussein's now-outlawed Baath party.

The attacks began hours after bomb blasts tore through two Baghdad neighborhoods Wednesday evening, killing at least 30, including several members of a wedding party in the mixed Sunni-Shiite Jihad neighborhood.

Associated Press writers Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Sinan Salaheddin contributed to this story.

Follow Adam Schreck on Twitter at http://twitter.com/adamschreck

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