More than 60 dead as Iraqis mark end to lethal Ramadan

Baghdad, Aug 11: Car bombs ripped through Baghdad cafes and markets while blasts and shootings struck elsewhere killing 61 people as Iraq marked the end of its deadliest Ramadan holy month in years.

The attacks late yesterday were the latest in spiralling violence which authorities have failed to stem, with the worst bloodshed in five years raising worries of a return to the all-out Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict that killed tens of thousands in past years. Yesterday's violence followed major security operations against militants that officials hailed as having resulted in the killing and capture of many.

Overall, 16 car bombs and a series of shootings and other blasts killed at least 61 people and wounded nearly 300 across the country yesterday, security and medical officials said. A spate of vehicles rigged with explosives were detonated in eight different neighbourhoods of Baghdad, in apparently coordinated strikes.

The blasts hit public markets, cafes, and restaurants, killing 37 people overall, while violence earlier yesterday killed two others in the capital, according to security and medical officials At Baghdad's Al-Kindi hospital, medics treated a man, apparently a soldier, whose face, chest and arms were covered in blood.

Medics sprinted into the hospital pushing people on stretchers, one of them a blanket-swathed man whose eyes were closed. Another man ran behind the stretcher, weeping as it was wheeled into the hospital. Outside, long lines of cars inched along Baghdad roads, held up by increased security measures that came too late for the dozens of victims.

Also yesterday, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle near a police checkpoint in Tuz Khurmatu, north of the capital, killing nine people. A car bomb in Kirkuk, also north of Baghdad, killed an engineer. Two car bombs in the southern city of Nasiriyah killed four, while a car bomb in the shrine city of Karbala left five others dead.

Elsewhere, three people were killed and five others wounded in separate attacks in Babil and Nineveh provinces. More than 800 people died in attacks during the dawn-to-dusk fasting month of Ramadan, which began in the second week of July and ended this week.


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