A series of bomb blasts rocked Iraq on Monday, killing at least 170 people and wounding 67. The attacks, which disrupted the otherwise quiet holy month of Ramadan, took place in less than two weeks after the Iraqi government said it would negotiate with the U.S. for keeping some of its troops after the end of the year.
The U.S. troops have a deadline of Dec. 31 to leave Iraq. However, the country has seen violence rise in almost all regions, except Kurdistan. Monday's attacks were directed at both Shia and Sunni areas. There were a dozen bombings targeting the Iraqi security forces.
However, the worst attack was a double blast that targeted civilians on a busy street in Kut, central Iraq, that killed 34 and injured more than 50, an official in the provincial security command centre confirmed.
As many as 68 people were wounded in the attack, Dr. Dhiya al-Deen Jalil, the head of the health directorate in Kut, said. He also confirmed the 34 fatalities.
There were bomb blasts in Twareej and Baghdad killing around 16 people and wounded 41. In northern Iraq, two suicide bombers targeted security forces in Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, killing at least four policemen and wounding 11. In the normally peaceful towns of South Baghdad, three suicide bombers attacked local police stations in Najaf and Karbala, leaving 19 dead.
Four bombs had exploded in the capital city of Baghdad, including two car bombs that targeted an Iraqi army patrol and an education ministry convoy, killing at least one person and wounding 13, the official said.
The attacks appeared to be the deadliest since July 5, when nearly 36 people were killed in the city of Taji, north of Baghdad.