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Iraq suffers deadliest day in nearly a month

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
updated 8:28 PM EDT, Sun September 30, 2012
Residents look on as they stand at the site of a bomb blast in the town of Taji, north of Baghdad, Sunday.
Residents look on as they stand at the site of a bomb blast in the town of Taji, north of Baghdad, Sunday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The violence comes just days after dozens of prisoners broke out of jail
  • Sunday's death toll in Iraq climbs to 30
  • The country's Shiite Muslim majority appears to be the main target of Sunday's bombings
  • The level of violence seems to be rising in the country again after relative calm

(CNN) -- At least 30 people were killed Sunday in a wave of bombings in Iraq, making it the country's deadliest day in nearly a month.

The country's majority Shiite Muslim community appeared to be the main target of the attacks, with a Shiite shrine among the targets.

The blasts seem to be part of a new increase in the level of violence in the country after a period of relative stability.

There were seven explosions in and around Baghdad, which killed 20 people, police officials in the capital said. At least 37 other people were wounded in the blasts in the city center, the Baghdad neighborhoods of al-Mashahda and al-Amel, and the nearby city of Taji.

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A car bomb later exploded near a Shiite shrine in al-Madaan, killing four people. Nineteen other people were wounded, including four Iranians, police officials told CNN. Iraq is the site of many Shiite holy sites visited by pilgrims from Iran.

The shrine is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Baghdad.

At least 15 killed in Iraq jailbreak

And in the predominantly Shiite city of Kut, six people, including three Iraqi police officers, were killed and 10 people were wounded in a car bomb explosion at a police checkpoint.

The incident occurred Sunday around 7 a.m. about 110 kilometers (68 miles) south of Baghdad in Wasit province.

Health and police officials in Kut told CNN earlier that eight people were killed and 18 others wounded in that bombing, but the Interior Ministry then said some of those casualties were from a car accident.

The violence comes just days after dozens of prisoners broke out of a jail in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit. Among those who got out Thursday were several al Qaeda members on death row, according to authorities.

The jailbreak occurred when armed men detonated two car bombs at the gates of Tasfirat jail. The explosions triggered clashes with security forces.

Ten security forces and five prisoners died. Twenty security forces and 20 prisoners were wounded.

Three weeks ago, at least 63 people were killed and roughly 200 others were wounded in a fresh wave of violence largely targeting Iraqi security forces and predominantly Shiite areas, government officials said.

The September 9 blasts and shootings across Iraq came on the heels of a particularly brutal few weeks in the Middle Eastern nation. More than 70 Iraqi security force members were killed in August, according to the Interior Ministry.

Iraq has battled political infighting among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, raising worries that the political conflict will return to the level of violence that nearly tore the country apart in 2006.

While violence has decreased since the height of the U.S.-led war in 2005 and 2006, there has been a sharp escalation in attacks in recent months. In July, the number of dead hit a two-year peak with 325 deaths reported, according to the Interior Ministry. That was the deadliest single month since August 2010, it said.

Baghdad's Shiite-dominated government has blamed the recent attacks on Sunni insurgents with ties to al Qaeda.

U.S. troops completed their withdrawal from Iraq in December.

Iraq security forces searching for escapees

CNN's Chelsea J. Carter contributed to this report.

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