According to The Huffington Post, the attacks public places are the latest sign of a rapid deterioration in security as tensions are exacerbated by anti-government protests and the war in neighboring Syria grinds on.
Statistics show that more than 450 people have been killed across the country during this month. The death toll rocketed over the past two weeks in the most sustained wave of violence since U.S. troops left in December 2011.
The surge in attacks is reminiscent of the sectarian carnage that pushed the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007. April was Iraq’s deadliest month since June 2008, a United Nations tally recorded that put last month’s death toll at more than 700.
It’s still unknown who is to blame for Monday’s attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida’s Iraqi arm. The group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq, is well known for its frequently use of car bombs and coordinated blasts against Shiites to undermine Iraqis’ confidence in the Shiite-led government.
The deadliest attack occured when two bombs exploded in the eastern Habibiya area on the edge of the sprawling Shiite district of Sadr City. As a result, 12 people were killed and 35 wounded, police said.
In Madain, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the center of the city, a car bomb killed three civilians and wounded nine.Â In Baghdad’s central Sadria area, a car bomb killed three and wounded 11.
In the north, a blast in the Sabi al-Boor neighborhood eight civilians were killed and 26 wounded. In the Kazimiyah district, a car bomb blew up near a bus and taxi stop, killing four and wounding 11.
Another attack was carried out in the busy commercial Sadoun Street in downtown Baghdad. It took lives of 5 civilians and wounded 14, police reports claim. Among the wounded were four policemen who were at a nearby checkpoint.
Firefighters were seen struggling to extinguish flames as police and emergency groups sealed off the area. Several shops were partially damaged or burned.
The day’s bombings were the deadliest since last week, when a series of attacks killed 113 people in Shiite and Sunni areas. That was the deadliest single day in the country since July 23, when attacks aimed largely at security forces killed 115.
Maria Fantappie, an Iraq analyst at the International Crisis Group, linked the recent boom in violence to the protests and said the events at Hawija marked a turning point.
“They transformed the political crisis into a series of local conflicts in the Sunni-populated provinces,” she said. “As it stands, the risk is a metastasis of armed clashes across these provinces.”
She went on, adding that outright civil war between the protesters â€“ who remain divided over their support for violence â€“ and security forces loyal to the Shiite-led government is unlikely, however.
The U.S. Embassy issued a statement condemning the latest attacks and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered a reshuffle in senior military ranks. Authorities have also launched a military operation in the country’s western Anbar province to chase down fighters from al-Qaida in Iraq.