The Iraqi government on Sunday urged nationals to vote in Oct. 15's constitutional referendum, condemning armed groups for demanding a boycott and for killing many civilians in a bid to foil the ballot.
"These insurgents are like rats spreading plague among the people," said Laith Kuba, the main Iraqi government spokesman, according to the AP. "Rats are very small, but the disease they spread is horrible. Iraq should bet rid of these dirty rats," he said at a news conference in Baghdad.
According to Kuba, a successful boycott will weaken Iraq and delay its attempts to rebuild. He added that "the killing of innocent civilians is now the nation's No. 1 challenge."
Meanwhile, a car bomb went off outside an apartment building used by the Iranian-backed Badr Brigade in Basra, killing two people and injuring three.
The explosion occurred on Sunday near the three-storey building in central Basra at about 7.30am, and those who escaped injury included former Basra governor Hasan al-Rashid, a senior local leader of the brigade, said police Captain Mushtaq Kadhim, according to Reuters. Eyewitnesses said a child was killed in this incident.
In Baghdad, a suicide attacker on Saturday detonated a car full of explosives at two police vehicles forming a checkpoint, killing at least five policemen and injuring 20 people, the AP reported. Gunmen also killed a police captain in Baghdad and another in Samarra.
Iraqi troops opened fire on a civilian car that hasn't stopped at a checkpoint in Baghdad, killing the driver and injuring five other occupants, including a child. Four bodies, all bound and shot in the head, were found dumped in separate parts of the capital, media reports added.