Green Zone under fire as at least 51 die in attacks
A wave of attacks across Iraq on Sunday killed at least 51 people, while gunmen fired a barrage of mortars at Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, sending US embassy staff scurrying into bunkers.
The deadliest attack was in the main northern city of Mosul where a suicide bomber crashed an explosives-laden truck into an Iraqi army base, triggering an explosion that killed at least 12 troops and wounded dozens. "The bomber smashed the truck through barriers at the entrance to the base and triggered the explosion" at around 7:00 am (0400 GMT), army officer Major Mohammed Ahmed told AFP.
In another attack in the south of Baghdad, armed men travelling in three cars opened fire on crowds in a local market in the mixed Zafaraniyah neighbourhood, killing seven people and injuring 16, security and medical officials said.
In another attack in the Iraqi capital, a Katyusha rocket struck a residential building in largely Shiite eastern Al-Kamaliyah neighbourhood, killing at least five people and wounding eight, security officials said. A car bomb near a bus stop in Baghdad's Shiite Al-Shuala neighbourhood killed five people and wounded eight others, security officials said.
Further north, a roadside bomb near the town of Al-Tuz, 75 kilometres south of Kirkuk, killed four Iraqi army personnel, a medic said.
The US military, meanwhile, said its forces raided a "suicide bombing network" in Diyala province northeast of the capital, killing 12 men. Spokesman Major Winfield Danielson told AFP that the raid was launched east of the Diyala capital Baquba.
Elsewhere in Iraq, four people, including a police officer, were killed in shootings, police said, while in Baquba, two children died in a bomb blast.
The violence on Sunday began with a barrage of mortar fire against Baghdad's Green Zone.
A large plume of thick black smoke could be seen rising from one part of the central Baghdad Green Zone, which houses many government ministries and diplomatic missions. Sirens could be heard warning people to take cover. Two U.S. attack helicopters could be seen circling over an area in the Iraqi capital's northeast soon after the attack, Reuters reported.
The barrage of about a dozen blasts, which started just before 6 a.m. (0300 GMT), came in three separate volleys and lasted for a total of about 15 minutes.