UK

Iraq Car Bombs Kill Dozens, Targeting Eid Celebrations After Ramadan

11/08/2013 10:31 BST | Updated 11/08/2013 14:37 BST

Bloody violence across Iraq surged during the month of Ramadan, with a wave of car bombings killing 69 people and injuring 300 on Saturday as communities came out to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

More than 670 people were killed during the Muslim holy month. This year's Ramadan saw the most bloodshed since 2007, with a crackdown by government forces on a Sunni protest camp and bombings in Shia neighbourhoods, threatening to further drive sectarian wedge which has twice led the nation to the brink of civil war.

On Saturday, the deadliest attack of twelve separate car bombings came from a suicide bomber who drove a vehicle packed with explosives into the middle of a residential area in Tuz Khormato, killing eight people.

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An Iraqi worker cleans the pavement at the scene of a car bomb attack that occured the day before in the northern Baghdad neighbourhood of Shaab

Another car bomb tore throw an outdoor market in the southeast of Baghdad, the Jisr Diyala neighbourhood. Seven were killed and 20 injured.

Many of the weekend's car bombing targeted Shia areas of Baghdad, and Shia-dominated towns.

A car bomb went off close by in a car park in a predominantly Shi-ite Baghdad neighborhood, killing three. Three more were killed in the Shi'ite area of Amil, and a car bomb in the holy city of Karbala killed four. Another four were killed by a car bomb placed near a busy cafe in the Shi'ite Baghdad neighbourhood of Abu Dasir.

Five died after a bombing in the Shi'ite Khazimiyah neighbourhood in north Baghdad, and another five in the southwest district of Baiyaa.

Four people, including to children, were killed by a car bomb in a Baghdad park.

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt called for leaders to work together for stability. He said: “The British Government utterly condemns the attacks that took place across Iraq yesterday. My thoughts are with the families of those involved.

"I was especially horrified to hear that these attacks targeted children and their families celebrating the Eid-al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“This type of violence has no place in Iraq’s future and we strongly support the Government of Iraq's efforts to bring those responsible to justice.

"These attacks follow a number of shocking incidents that have taken place across Iraq recently and are clearly intended to fuel sectarian strife and destabilise the country. I call on all political, religious and community leaders to work together to combat this type of violence and build a more secure Iraq.”

US Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki condemned the attacks, saying in a statement that they were similar to suicide and vehicle bomb attacks in the country in the past month-and-a-half conducted by al-Qaida's Iraq branch, according to AP.

Their leader is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whohas taken personal credit for a series of terrorist attacks in Iraq since 2011, including an attack against the Abu Ghraib prison, Psaki said.

"The terrorists who committed these acts are enemies of Islam and a shared enemy of the United States, Iraq, and the international community," the statement said.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki vowed to continue hunting down those responsible, saying: "We will not leave our children to these murderers and those standing behind them and supporting both inside and outside."