At least 285 Iraqis were killed or wounded Monday (August 15th) in terrorist attacks targeting crowds of citizens and security forces across the country. Iraqi security officials blamed al-Qaeda for the attacks, which hit Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Kut, Samarra, Kirkuk, Baqubah and Mosul.
Security forces were placed on maximum alert and announced the start of a series of raids on locations suspected of sheltering the perpetrators. So far, seven suspects have been arrested.
In Kut, capital of Wasit province, an improvised explosive device (IED) went off in al-Abasiyeen market while it was crowded with shoppers. A few minutes later, as citizens and security forces rushed to evacuate the killed and wounded, a car bomb parked near the first explosion went off.
The blasts killed 37, including three women and 12 children, and wounded 67 others, according to Col. Hasan Abdul Zahra al-Waeli, deputy director of Wasit province police. They also caused serious damages to nearby stores.
"This attack bears the fingerprints of the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation. The terrorists will be dealt a harsh and swift blow in response to this carnage," al-Waeli told mawtani.com.
In Diyala, provincial police spokesperson Lt. Col. Ghaleb al-Karkhi said eight Iraqis were killed, including three policemen, when a suicide car bomber drove into an Iraqi police patrol at Khan Bani Saad.
"The suicide bomber targeted the patrol while it was passing near a crowd of citizens on their way to the popular market in town," al-Karkhi told Mawtani.
The blast also wounded 18 others.
Al-Karkhi said Iraqi security forces were able to disarm three other car bombs in different areas of Diyala after they found them parked near civilian targets in the district of Bahraz, al-Malaab intersection, and the district of Balad Ruz.
In Kirkuk, a parked car bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol went off at al-Tesaeen.
Kirkuk city police spokesperson Capt. Hasan al-Jaf said the blast killed one policeman and wounded seven others, including three civilians who were passing nearby.
In Dumeez, al-Kaf said a motorcycle bomb exploded near a popular market and a parking garage.
The blast killed one civilian and seriously wounded six others.
In Najaf, police chief Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem al-Ameri said 60 Iraqis were killed and wounded in twin attacks targeting the highway patrol directorate north of the province.
During a press conference, al-Ameri said one car bomb went off near the directorate and was followed by another blast from a car bomb driven by a suicide bomber.
Eight security personnel were killed in the blasts, while 52 others, mostly Iraqi security forces personnel, were wounded.
In Karbala, seven Iraqis, including four civilians, were killed and 38 were wounded when a suicide bomber blew up his car near a police center in the town of al-Hendiyah.
"The attack came as a response to the security operations that Iraqi forces are launching in the area to crack down on members of al-Qaeda terrorist organisation and other terrorist groups," Col. Malek al-Allaq of Mid-Euphrates Operations Command said.
In Baghdad, Mosul and Samarra, separate IED attacks killed eight and wounded 27, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.
"The al-Qaeda terrorist organisation is responsible for all the terrorist attacks," said Interior Ministry spokesperson and acting chief of Baghdad province police Maj. Gen. Adel Dahham.
He said that intelligence suggests the attacks were part of a plan to target more than 12 Iraqi cities on the same day, "with the aim of making the security forces lose their control of the situation".
"However, five of those organised attacks were thwarted thanks to the experience and efforts of security forces," he said. "Moreover, seven people involved in these attacks were arrested and the necessary investigations are now underway with them."