NEW: Interior Ministry says the attacks bear the hallmark of al Qaeda in Iraq
Attackers struck across Iraq on Monday in assaults that killed 82 and injured 186
It was one of the deadliest days since U.S. forces withdrew in December
The deadliest attack this year was bombing that killed 93, wounded 312 on June 13
There were at least 35 attacks in seven provinces Monday, authorities said, ranging from shootings and assassinations to car bombs and roadside explosives.
Monday’s violence evoked the bloodiest days of the war, when random and targeted attacks routinely killed scores of people per day. Attacks have declined sharply since their peak in 2006, but insurgents have continued to target civilians and security forces since the United States withdrew its forces in December.
Before Monday’s attacks, the deadliest day this year had been June 13, when a number of coordinated attacks nationwide killed 93 people.
Monday’s attacks coincide with an emerging political crisis in Iraq, which faces an increasingly fractious legislature as Iraq’s Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish political blocs increasingly seem at odds.
Officials with Iraq’s Interior Ministry said Monday that the attacks bear the hallmark of al Qaeda in Iraq. No claim of responsibility has been made.
Al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent groups, mostly from the country’s Sunni minority, have claimed responsibility for previous attacks on Iraqi security forces and the majority Shiite population, raising fears that the violence is a precursor to the return of sectarian violence that nearly tore the country apart at the height of the war.
“They promised us that violence would end when American troops leave Iraq, but on the contrary, things are getting worse,” college student Khalid Nima said Monday, who blamed the government for failing to stanch the violence. “This is not the country where I want to plan for my future.”
An attack on Monday killed 32 people and wounded 43 in the town of Taji, roughly 20 miles north of Baghdad; authorities said a car bomb and four roadside bombs exploded in a residential complex there.
In another attack, at an Iraqi military base north of Baghdad, militants armed with mortars and small arms killed at least 15 soldiers, the officials said.
Authorities reported these other incidents of violence on Monday:
– At least five people were killed and 19 injured in Kirkuk by three car bombs and five roadside bombs.
– At least five people were killed and 22 injured when a car bomb exploded near a busy market in Diwaniya.
– At least three people were killed and 31 injured in a car bombing outside a popular restaurant in al-Husseiniya, a predominantly Shiite suburb in northeastern Baghdad.
– At least three people were killed and 19 hurt when a bomb struck an outdoor market in Mosul.
– At least two people were killed in the Qadisiya neighborhood of Baghdad.
– At least two people were killed and 11 wounded when a motorcycle rigged with a bomb exploded at an outdoor market in Muqdadiyah, in the Sunni-dominated province of Diyala.
– At least one person was killed and nine were hurt when an attacker struck an Iraqi security patrol in Tarmiya.
– At least one person was killed and seven were hurt by a roadside bomb in the al-Jihad neighborhood of Baghdad.
– At least one person was killed and seven were hurt by a roadside bomb in al-Baaj, west of Mosul, in northern Iraq.