Kidnapped civilians among 32 killed in rash of Iraq violence

It’s the latest spate of violence plaguing the country amid heightened sectarian strife.

Basra: Car bombings kill nine, mostly civilians

At least nine people were killed and 37 others wounded when two car bombs exploded Monday in a pair of neighborhoods, Basra police said.

Most of the casualties were civilians, police said.

The southeastern province of Basra is predominately Shiite, but it was unclear who is responsible for the blasts.

Haditha: Eight officers killed

In another attack, gunmen ambushed two police checkpoints in in Haditha on Monday, killing eight officers, Ramadi police said. Haditha is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) west of Baghdad.

Baghdad: Seven car bombs leave seven dead

Five car bombs rocked five predominately Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad on Monday, police said. The attacks killed four people and left 42 injured.

Another car bomb exploded near an outdoor market in southeastern Baghdad, killing two. And a seventh car bomb rocked a busy road in southwestern Baghdad, killing one, police said. 

Ramadi area: Eight kidnapped civilians found shot to death

The bodies of eight civilians who were kidnapped by gunmen on Saturday were found dead late Sunday night, officials said.

The civilians were abducted on a highway west of Ramadi and were discovered along a different part of roadway, authorities said. All eight had been shot to death.

Earlier, the bodies of six police officers who had also been abducted Saturday were found on a highway in western Ramadi.

Most of the 14 people kidnapped and killed were Shiites. 

Sectarian strife mounting across the country

Authorities have not been able to pinpoint who’s behind the latest wave of violence. 

But tensions between Iraq’s Sunnis and Shiites have escalated in recent months, especially after an incident last month in Hawija where Iraqi security forces raided a site used by Sunni protesters to demonstrate against the Shiite-led government. 

The violence often alternates between attacks against Sunnis and attacks against the Shiites.

Sunnis, who represent a minority of Iraqis, have been politically marginalized since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Shiites, who make up a majority of Iraqis, now dominate the government. 

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki addressed the sectarian violence afflicting the country on Sunday. 

“Those who are targeting mosques and other locations are the enemies of Sunnis and Shiite(s)” the prime minister said in a statement. “They are plotting to ignite sectarian strife as they have tried before.

Al-Maliki called on clerics to reject sectarianism and promote unity.

 

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