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Car bombs kill scores in Iraq

by TIM ARANGO New York Times News Service on August 11, 2013 2:10 AM

BAGHDAD — As Iraqis flooded the streets of their capital and other cities Saturday to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a string of car bombs struck in mostly Shiite neighborhoods, killing more than 60 people, officials said.

The bombings were the latest in a surge of attacks in Iraq this summer — before, during and after Ramadan — that have brought monthly death tolls to levels not seen in nearly five years, according to U.S. figures.

The attacks Saturday killed at least 61 people and injured more than 200 across Iraq, an Interior Ministry official said.

Nine car bombs struck around Baghdad, the capital, at public markets and near a city park, and many exploded in Shiite neighborhoods that have borne the brunt of the increasingly violent Sunni insurgency led by al-Qaida’s Iraq affiliate, killing at least 35 people. Other attacks — in the northern city of Tuz Khurmato, in Hilla, Karbala and Dhi Qar in the south — killed at least 26.

According to the United Nations, 1,057 Iraqis were killed and 2,326 were wounded in attacks in July, the highest monthly casualty figures since 2008.

“We haven’t seen such numbers in more than five years, when the blind rage of the sectarian strife that inflicted such deep wounds on this country was finally abating,” Gyorgy Busztin, the acting U.N. representative for Iraq, said recently.

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