60 killed in series of Iraq bomb blasts

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Bombs ripped through more than a dozen Iraqi cities today killing scores of people in a wave of violence that shattered what had been a relatively peaceful holy month of Ramadan.





The violence, in which at least 60 people died, struck from the northern city of Kirkuk to Baghdad to the southern Shiite cities of Najaf, Kut and Karbala, and emphasised the persistent ability of insurgents to wreak havoc.



The blasts were coordinated to go off in the morning and included a combination of parked car bombs, roadside bombs and a suicide bomber driving a vehicle that rammed into a police station.



The scope of the violence - seven explosions went off in different towns in Diyala province alone - emphasised the still dangerous ability of insurgents to co-ordinate and carry out attacks despite repeated crackdowns by Iraqi and US forces.



The worst violence came in the southern city of Kut, 100 miles from Baghdad, where twin explosions went off as building workers were gathered in a market selling generators and other appliances.



Police said the first bomb went off in a freezer used to keep drinks cold. Then as rescuers and onlookers gathered, a parked car bomb exploded.



The head of the provincial security committee in Wasit province, Shamil Mansour, said 35 people were killed; another official put the number of injured at 64.



In Diyala province, seven bombs went off in the capital of Baquba and towns nearby. Five soldiers were killed in Baquba while six people were killed in other attacks around the province.



Just outside the holy city of Najaf, a suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into a checkpoint outside a police building.



Police opened fire when the driver refused to stop and then the vehicle exploded. Four people were killed and 32 injured; among the dead were two policemen and two civilians.



And outside Karbala, a parked car bomb targeting a police station killed three policemen and injured 14 others.



In the northern city of Tikrit two men wearing explosives belts drove into a heavily guarded government compound wearing military uniforms. provincial spokesman.



They walked to a building housing the anti-terrorism police. When the men approached the building, the guards ordered them to stop and then opened fire. One bomber was immediately killed but the other managed to get inside the building before blowing himself up and killing three people.



It was another embarrassing security breach for security officials at the compound. Earlier this year, insurgents managed to penetrate the compound's security and attack a mosque where many prominent officials were at prayer.



In the northern city of Kirkuk, a car bomb exploded next to a police patrol injuring four officers. Then about thirty minutes later one person was killed when a motorcycle with a bomb planted inside it exploded.



In Baghdad, a parked car bomb exploded near a convoy carrying officials from the Ministry of Higher Education, wounding eight people.



Violence has dropped considerably in Iraq from the heyday of the war when such bloody bombings were an almost daily occurrence. But the persistence of the violence in Iraq, albeit at a lower level, underscores the ability of insurgents to undermine the country's security.

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