Baghdad, Jul 15: A wave of explosions tore through overwhelmingly Shiite cities south of Baghdad shortly before the Muslim faithful broke their Ramadan fasts yesterday, killing at least 28, according to officials, part of a surge of violence that is raising fears Iraq is sliding back toward full-scale sectarian fighting.
The coordinated attacks followed shootings and bombings in the north earlier in the day that killed six others.
Yesterday's explosions struck shortly before the evening iftar meal that ends the daylong fast during Ramadan.
At least eight people were killed and 15 were wounded in the southern port city of Basra when a car bomb and then a follow-up blast went off near an office of a Shiite political party, according to two police officers. Basra is a major oil industry hub 550 kilometers southeast of Baghdad.
Another car bomb exploded among shops and take-away restaurants in central Kut, 160 kilometers southeast of Baghdad. The provincial deputy governor, Haidar Mohammed Jassim, said five people were killed and 35 wounded.
Police reported additional car bomb explosions that left four dead in a commercial street in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, five near an outdoor market in Nasiriyah and six near a Shiite mosque in Musayyib, and more than 60 wounded in total.
Earlier in the day, police said gunmen killed two soldiers in an assault on their security checkpoint in the restive city of Mosul, 360 kilometers northwest of Baghdad.
Hours later, a roadside bomb killed a municipal council member and his son in a town near Mosul. Gunmen in another area just south of Mosul also sprayed a security checkpoint with bullets, killing two policemen.