x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Iraq attacks kill 35 people

A wave of attacks targeting Iraqi security forces and civilians killed 35 people yesterday.

BAGHDAD // A wave of attacks targeting Iraqi security forces and civilians killed 35 people yesterday.

It was the deadliest day in Iraq since November 29, when 50 people were killed, and comes after attacks killed 19 people and wounded 77 on Sunday.

United States military forces completed their withdrawal from Iraq a year ago today, ending a nearly nine-year war that cost the lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis, thousands of Americans and hundreds of billions of dollars.

Violence in Iraq is down significantly from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but while Iraqi forces have held their own since the US departure, insurgent groups still pose a significant threat, and attacks occur almost daily.

In the two worst incidents yesterday, a car bomb in Khaznah, a village near Mosul populated by the small Shabak minority, killed seven people and wounded 12, while two car bombs near a Shiite place of worship killed five and wounded 26 in the northern flashpoint town of Tuz Khurmatu.

In the capital, a car bomb killed at least one person and wounded at least four.

The remains of a car lay at the site of the blast, which shattered windows, damaged other vehicles and left debris strewn in the street, which was packed with Iraqi security forces after the blast.

"The security situation is worsening," said Duniyah, 23, who works at a hotel near the site of the explosion.

Iraqi security forces had been able to keep violence in check, with the number of people killed in the first 11 months of this year fewer than in the same period in 2011, according to government figures.

"The withdrawal of US forces meant that training became reduced, intelligence gathering became limited and quick-reaction forces were no longer as well resourced or able to reach flashpoints at short notice," said John Drake, an analyst with AKE group.

"However, counterinsurgency operations and arrests didn't decline," he said, but he added "the Iraqi military still has a long way to go in terms of building capabilities, and they remain underresourced and regularly targeted".