Latest car bombing kills 35 north of Baghdad

McClatchy NewspapersJuly 5, 2011 

BAGHDAD — Thirty-five people were killed and 28 were wounded Tuesday in a twin bombing in Taji, a town 12 miles north of the Iraqi capital.

The explosions, one right after the other, were the latest in an escalating series of bombings that have claimed hundreds of Iraqi lives in the past two months. They seemed to promise a bloody next two months, a time of year when such bombings traditionally peak in Iraq.

Iraqi security officials said the first bomb exploded in a parked car around 10 a.m. near the town council building and the government office that issues identity cards. The second explosion followed at the same location.

No one took immediate responsibility for the blasts, which came at the peak time that residents would be visiting the buildings for official business. There were similar coordinated bombings last month, seemingly timed to hit police and medical personnel who responded to the first explosions, in the southern city of Diwaniyah and the western city of Ramadi. The Diwaniyah explosions June 21 killed at least 25 people, while the Ramadi blasts June 2 killed five people and wounded 27.

In May, 223 Iraqis — including 65 security personnel — died in insurgent assaults. In June the death toll was 204, including 54 security personnel.

Last year, bombings peaked in July and August. Last July, 534 people were killed, 37 of them security personnel, and in August, 363 died, 90 of them security personnel.

The speaker of parliament, Osama al Nujaifi, condemned the attacks Tuesday and urged security forces to do a better job protecting the people in the wake of recent violence against government institutions.

Nujaifi also demanded that security forces reveal the outcome of an investigation into previous attacks.

The bombings came as the United States reopened its consulate in Basra, Iraq's largest southern city and the center of the country’s rapidly growing oil industry. It's the first U.S. diplomatic mission there since 1967.

Jeffrey Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, took part in opening the facility. A consulate generally handles visa applications and other local matters.

(Hammoudi is a McClatchy special correspondent. Roy Gutman contributed to this article from Baghdad.)

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