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Iraq attacks kills 106 in deadliest day in 2 years

July 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A series of coordinated bombings and shootings in Iraq killed more than 100 people in the deadliest day in the country in more than two years.

No group has claimed responsibility, but last week, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq declared a new offensive aimed at sowing instability across the country.

The attacks in 15 cities sent a chilling warning that al Qaeda is slowly resurging in the security vacuum created by a weak government in Baghdad and the departure of U.S. troops seven months ago.

"Al Qaeda is trying to send a message that it is still strong and can choose the time and places to attack," said Shiite lawmaker Hakim al-Zamili, a member of parliament's security and defense committee.

Investigators believe Monday's attacks were aimed mostly at government officials and security forces.

The deadliest attack took place just north of Baghdad in the town of Taji, where a double bombing killed at least 41 people. The blasts were timed to hit as police rushed to help victims from a series of five explosions minutes earlier.

In another brazen assault, three carloads of gunmen pulled up at an Iraqi army base near the northeastern town of Udaim and opened fire, killing 13 soldiers before escaping, two senior police officials said.

Iraq's Interior Ministry, which oversees the country's security, condemned the attacks, calling them a "flagrant violation" of the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It said security officials now planned to devise a new strategy to protect the public, but said complaints about the security gaps were "not useful."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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