A series of apparently coordinated bombings across Iraq on the eve Wednesday of a Muslim festival marking the Islamic new year killed 15 people and wounded dozens, security and medical officials said.
The early-morning blasts — five car bombs and a roadside bomb — struck in Baghdad and three other cities, and will likely raise tensions in a country that only recently emerged from a brutal sectarian war.
The deadliest blasts occurred in Kirkuk, a disputed ethnically-mixed oil-rich province in north Iraq that is frequently targeted by militants seeking to sow communal violence, where at least nine people were killed and 39 wounded.
Two car bombs and a roadside bomb in Kirkuk’s eponymous capital city killed five people and wounded 34 others, while another explosives-packed vehicle targeting an Iraqi army patrol in the town of Hawijah, also in Kirkuk province, left four dead and five others wounded, according to officials.
South of Baghdad near the city of Hilla, meanwhile, a car bomb in a parking lot near a crowded marketplace killed five people and wounded 35 others, police and medics said.
Another car bomb in Baghdad’s Firdos Square, the site famous around the world for Iraqis famously pulling down a statue of Saddam Hussein shortly after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, killed one person and wounded six others.
The violence comes a day before Muharram, which marks the Islamic new year on the lunar calendar.