Baghdad, 22 Jul (AFP): Violence in Iraq killed 18 people today, as ordinary Iraqis poured scorn on the authorities for failing to stem a weekend of unrest that cost dozens of lives.
More than 540 people have been killed so far this month and over 2,800 since January 1, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.
In the deadliest incident today, gunmen attacked a checkpoint in the Zab area of Kirkuk province in northern Iraq, killing five members of an Arab unit of the peshmerga security forces, officials said.
Members of the peshmerga, the security forces of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, are overwhelmingly ethnic Kurds.
Gunmen also killed four people — a soldier, a five-year-old child and two others — who were swimming in a river in the Sharqat area north of Baghdad.
It was the third attack targeting a swimming area in seven days.
In the northern city of Mosul, gunmen killed two policemen in an attack on a checkpoint, while two roadside bombs exploded near an army base in Taji, north of Baghdad, killing three people and wounding at least 10.
Another roadside bomb killed two police and wounded two more in the town of Al-Wajihiyah, also north of Baghdad, and a bomb exploded in the garden of a house in Besmayah, southeast of the capital, killing two people and wounding four, all from the same family.
The blasts came a day after Baghdad was hit by 12 car bombs, a roadside bomb and a shooting, while another bomb blew up south of the capital. A total of 67 people were killed.
Attacks elsewhere killed another three people yesterday.
The Baghdad attacks struck as residents turned out to shop and relax in cafes after iftar, the meal that breaks the daily fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Today, ordinary Iraqis sharply criticised the authorities for failing to prevent the bloodshed.
“This is a cartoon government and its security forces cannot protect themselves, let alone protect the people,” a man said near the site of one bombing in central Baghdad.
In Tobchi, a north Baghdad area hit in yesterday’s attacks, another man resorted to sarcasm.
“These car bombs come to us from Mars, because the security forces are implementing strict regulations to prevent their entry here,” he said.