World

Attacks kill at least 53 in Iraq

BAGHDAD — Insurgents unleashed a new wave of attacks on Tuesday in Iraq, killing at least 53 people, officials said, the latest in a surge in violence across the country that has raised concerns over a return to sectarian bloodshed. Seven militants were also killed.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attacks, mostly car bombs in Shi’ite areas.

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Al Qaeda’s Iraq branch, which has been gaining strength in recent months,
frequently targets Shi’ites, security forces, and civil servants in an effort to undermine the Shi’ite-led government in Baghdad.

Iraq is weathering its deadliest outburst of violence since 2008, with more than 2,000 people killed since the start of April.

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The bloodshed appears to be largely the work of resurgent Sunni militants such as Al Qaeda, feeding off Sunni discontent with the Shi’ite-led government.

Violence increased sharply in April and May, with frequent bombings in civilian areas raising concerns that a widespread sectarian conflict might once again break out in Iraq.

The bloodshed accelerated after a deadly April 23 crackdown by Iraqi security forces on a Sunni protest in the northern town of Hawija against the Shi’ite-led government.

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The deadliest attack was in Baghdad’s northern Shaab neighborhood.

Two parked car bombs targeted car dealers and a commercial area, killing nine people, including a policeman, a police officer said. He said that 24 other people were wounded.

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