Iraq: Bomb attacks kill 52 near Baquba and Baghdad
Several bomb attacks in the northern town of Baquba have killed at least 52 people on Wednesday. Sources have claimed that police and hospital staff are among those killed.
In the worst explosion, a bomb detonated in a funeral tent. Mourners in attendance were marking the death of a Sunni Muslim pro-government militiaman two days ago, police said. It killed 18 people and wounded 16. The explosion took place in Shatub, a village south of Baquba.
Violence has escalated back to its highest levels since the Sunni-Shi'ite bloodshed of 2006-2007 since US troops have left the region.
Al Qaeda-linked militants are pushing a campaign of attacks, mostly directed at state targets. They are focused on Shi'ite civilians and Sunnis that are looked upon as being loyal to the Shi'ite-led government.
Half a dozen car bombs exploded across the Iraqi capital on Wednesday, mostly in Shi'ite districts, killing 34 people and wounding 71, police and medics said.
The violence occurred during an ongoing standoff between the Iraqi army and Sunni militants who took over the city of Falluja more than two weeks ago in a challenge to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government.