Middle East Online KIRKUK (Iraq):
Violence in Iraq killed 47 people on Friday, with the deadliest
attack a suicide bombing that ripped through a crowded cafe,
leaving 38 dead, police and doctors said.
The bomber struck at a cafe in the city of Kirkuk
as people thronged the streets after the iftar meal that breaks
the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Thirty-eight people were killed and 29 wounded in
the south Kirkuk blast, police and Dr Ibrahim Shakur said.
Dozens of family members of the victims gathered
in front of the main hospital in Kirkuk, some with blood on
cried and screamed, waiting to know the fate of their relatives.
"While people were gathered in this cafe, a fat
man entered ... and we didn't hear anything except 'Allahu akbar'
(God is greatest), and then everything was destroyed," said
Ahmed al-Bayati, who was wounded in the leg.
"There were burned wounded people and burned
martyrs," he said.
cafes in Kirkuk closed after the attack, the first time a
suicide bomber targeted a cafe in the city.
"We closed our cafe in case there were more
attacks," said Yahya Abdulrahman, the owner of a cafe in the
same area as the bombing.
"We don't know why we were targeted today," he
"Those that were
targeted today are people of Kirkuk from all its components,"
Abdulrahman said, referring to the various ethnic and religious
groups that make up the city.
Police and Kurdish security personnel deployed in
force around the site of the attack and the hospital.
Iraq has been hit by a surge in violence that has
killed more than 2,500 people have been killed this year,
including over 300 this month alone.
Analysts point to widespread discontent among
Iraq's minority Sunni community, and the Shiite authorities'
failure to address their grievances, as the main factors driving
the increase in violence.
Attacks mainly targeting security forces killed
nine people earlier on Friday.
Gunmen shot dead police Brigadier General Sabri
Abed Issa on his way to a mosque near Sharqat, northwest of
Baghdad. Others killed a retired policeman outside his home in
Muqdadiyah, northeast of the capital.
In the northern city of Mosul, a suicide bomber
detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle at a police checkpoint,
killing four policemen and wounding two more.
A magnetic "sticky bomb" also killed a civilian
in Mosul, while a roadside bomb south of the city killed a
policeman and wounded another.
And a "sticky bomb" killed an anti-Al-Qaeda
militiaman and wounded another person near Baquba, also north of
attacks came a day after a wave of violence killed 56 people, 31
of them members of the security forces.
In Thursday's single worst incident, gunmen shot
dead 11 police charged with protecting the country's vital oil
infrastructure and three soldiers on the road between Haditha
and Baiji, northwest of Baghdad.
In another bloody attack on Thursday, a car bomb
ripped through a funeral tent where family members of a Shiite
man were receiving condolences in Muqdadiyah and a suicide
bomber detonated explosives when emergency personnel arrived.
Sunni militants including those linked to
Al-Qaeda frequently target members of Iraq's Shiite majority,
whom they regard as apostates.
Iraq was plagued by sectarian violence that
killed tens of thousands of people in past years, and there are
persistent fears that tensions will again boil over into all-out
the country has declined from its peak at the height of the
sectarian conflict in 2006 and 2007, but the number of deaths in
attacks has been rising since January.