Baghdad bomb attacks continue unabated
BAGHDAD, August 15, 2013 (AFP) - A series of bombings struck Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 16 people, officials said, a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki vowed to press a campaign against militants.
Security forces have carried out major operations against Iraqi militants in recent weeks, but despite the military action, the worst violence to hit Iraq in five years continues to ravage the country.
The four car bombs and a roadside bomb struck four different areas of Baghdad on Thursday morning, also wounding more than 50 people.
In the single deadliest attack, a car bomb exploded at a bus station in the Kadhimiyah area of north Baghdad, killing seven people and wounding 24.
Another car bomb exploded in Baladiyat near an office of Al-Ahad television, which is affiliated with Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a Shiite militant group that split from powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.
The violence came a day after attacks, including a blast at a cafe north of the capital, killed 17 people.
On Wednesday, Maliki said security forces would continue large-scale efforts to hunt militants.
"The operation that we started in chasing terrorists, and those who stand behind them, will continue until we protect our people," Maliki said.
He said more than 800 alleged militants had been detained and dozens of others killed, and that security forces had destroyed militant infrastructure used to make car bombs and seized a large amounts of weapons and explosives.
The premier did not, however, specify when the arrests were made, where the operations took place or who had carried them out.
Security forces have for weeks been carrying out wide-ranging operations in multiple provinces including Baghdad, after brazen July assaults on two major prisons, claimed by an Al-Qaeda front group.
Hundreds of inmates were freed in the attacks, among them some said to be senior militants, raising fears the escapes will bolster armed groups in Iraq.
But despite the regular announcements of the killing or capture of fighters in recent weeks, violence still plagues daily life.
Violence in Iraq has increased markedly this year, with analysts saying the upsurge is driven by anger among the Sunni Arab minority that the Shiite-led government has failed to address, despite months of protests.
Attacks have killed more than 3,450 people in Iraq since the beginning of 2013, according to figures compiled by AFP -- an average over 15 per day.