Security tightened in Iraq

Security was tightened on Tuesday in Baghdad neighbourhoods engulfed by a wave of nationwide violence which saw 113 people killed and 250 wounded in Iraq’s deadliest day in two and a half years.

Monday’s spate of bombings and shootings, which drew widespread international condemnation, came after Al-Qaeda warned it would seek to retake territory and mount new attacks. Overall, 29 separate attacks were launched in 19 cities, shattering the relative calm that had held in the lead-up to the start of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Extra police and soldiers as well as security force vehicles were deployed at marketplaces in neighbourhoods of Baghdad hit by the violence on Tuesday, witnesses said.

In the deadliest incidents – a string of roadside bombs and a car bomb followed by a suicide attack targeting emergency responders in the town of Taji, just north of Baghdad – at least 42 people were killed and 40 wounded, medical officials said. ‘I was sleeping, and my parents lifted me out of bed,’ recalled 11-year-old Mohammed, whose family’s home in Taji was levelled by the blast. ‘They were shouting, “Get up quickly! Help your younger brothers! There is a car bomb!” It felt like it was just a few moments later when it exploded, and there was a big ball of fire, and the wreckage was falling over our heads.’

US State department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that Washington strongly condemned the attacks. ‘The targeting of innocents is always cowardly,’ she said. ‘It’s particularly reprehensible during this holy month of Ramadan.'
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