Baghdad - Attacks across Iraq killed 14 people on Wednesday,
the latest in a months-long surge in violence that has left more than 4 000
people dead this year.
The shootings and bombings struck in Baghdad and restive
parts of the north and west, leaving dozens more wounded, security and medical
The protracted spike in bloodletting has fuelled fears
that Iraq is slipping back into the all-out conflict that plagued it in 2006
and 2007, when a brutal sectarian war left tens of thousands dead.
In Wednesday's deadliest violence, a series of 11 bombings
in the ethnically-mixed town of Tuz Khurmatu killed five people, four of them
members of the same family, and wounded 11, officials said.
The blasts targeted homes belonging to ethnic Turkmen in
the town, which is also populated by Arabs and Kurds and lies in a stretch of
territory that Kurdish leaders want to incorporate in their autonomous region
in the north over the objections of the central government.
Insurgents often exploit poor communication between Arab
and Kurdish security forces to carry out attacks in the area.
Shelling in the militant-held city of Fallujah, a short
drive west of Baghdad, killed three more people, a day after New York-based
Human Rights Watch criticised the Iraqi government for possibly violating the
laws of war by shelling the city's main hospital.
All of Fallujah and parts of nearby Anbar provincial
capital Ramadi have been out of government hands since the beginning of the
Security forces have shelled Fallujah repeatedly for
several months, and while they insist they are targeting militant hideouts,
human rights groups and residents say civilians are bearing the brunt of the
Elsewhere on Wednesday, attacks in the northern provinces
of Kirkuk and Nineveh left three people dead, while shootings and bombings in
and around Baghdad killed three more.
Violence in Iraq has surged to its highest level since
The authorities blame external factors such as the civil
war in neighbouring Syria, and insist wide-ranging operations against militants
are having an impact.
But near-daily attacks have continued and diplomats say
the Shi’ite-led government must do more to reach out to the disaffected Sunni
Arab minority to curb support for militancy.