Dozens were killed in bombs and shooting attacks across Iraq Monday morning, mid-way through the Ramadan holiday. Most of the 13 attacks targeted government forces, but the deadliest targeted civilians during morning rush-hour. The current toll stands at 74 killed, 247 wounded, according to Iraqi officials.
The bombing in Kut, in central Iraq, killed 34 civilians and injured 68. In Tikrit, where four police were killed in a double bombing, cars have been banned from the streets.
CNN seemed to speculate that there could be a connection to Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army with its mention of the Shi’ite cleric’s recent warning to attack American troops remaining in the country after the pullout deadline in December. Given Sadr’s MO in previous clashes with the government — street battles, not bombings — it’s unlikely this is the case, and in June veterans of the Mehdi Army showed their reluctance to fight anew.
Later updates point to the obvious: insurgents, believed by the US to be “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” have repeated the mid-Ramadan attack pulled off last year, which killed 92 in 13 cities. A US forces spokesperson calls today’s attack “eerily similar.”
Attacks on the government aren’t limited to security personnel; one of the string of attacks in Baghdad targeted an Education Ministry convoy. In recent years, large attacks, like the one in Baghdad in 2009 that killed 160, have tended to focus on all organs of the state.