By Tom Walker, Director, Assaye Risk
Levels of violence rose dramatically during this brief reporting period with multiple high impact attacks across the country, especially in the central and southern belts. With Friday Prayers in Baquba and Baghdad heavily targeted nearly 93 people were killed in one day, the highest total of any month since the final quarter of 2012. To date nearly 260 people have been killed since last Thursday, with the count rising on a daily basis.
In the latest attacks at least 26 people have been killed and many others injured in a series of car bomb attacks in central and southern Iraq. Baghdad was worst hit with at least five car bombs exploding near bus stations and outdoor markets in mainly Shia Muslim districts of the capital.
Two bombs also went off earlier in the day in the southern city of Basra. Basra, a mainly Shia Muslim city, had been seen as relatively peaceful, but there too, violence has increased in recent months as the Sunni insurgency has become emboldened and looks to further aggravate sectarian tensions and fears in what are normally Shia strongholds. In March a car bomb in the city killed 10 and wounded many others, whilst on Saturday gunmen shot and killed a Sunni Muslim cleric.
At least 60 people died in three bombings in Sunni Muslim areas in and around Baghdad on Friday. Those bombings followed deadly attacks on Shia targets across Iraq.
On Sunday, at least 10 policemen were reported killed in north-western Iraq in attacks blamed by the authorities on Sunni militants.
In today’s attacks, at least 16 people died in Baghdad and more than 10 in Barsa.