At least 60 people dead after 17 coordinated blasts rip through Iraq

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Originally published on July 29, 2013

Dozens of people are dead and many more injured after a spate of apparently coordinated car bombs tore through majority Shi'ite communities in Iraq on July 29. Reuters reports: "Car bombs ripped through busy streets and markets in Iraq on Monday, killing at least 60 people in predominantly Shi'ite areas in some of the deadliest violence since Sunni insurgents stepped up attacks this year.

"The 17 blasts, which appeared to be coordinated, were concentrated on towns and cities in Iraq's mainly Shi'ite south, and districts of the capital where Shi'ites live.

"Militant groups including al Qaeda have increased attacks in recent months in an insurgency against the Shi'ite-led government as a civil war in neighboring Syria heightens sectarian tensions.

"The violence has raised fears of a return to full-blown intercommunal conflict in a country where ethnic Kurds, majority Shi'ites and Sunni Muslims have yet to find a stable way of sharing power.

"In Baghdad's Shi'ite stronghold of Sadr city, police and witnesses said a minivan drew up to a group of men waiting by the side of the road for day work, and the driver told them to get in before detonating an explosive device in the vehicle.

"'The driver asked laborers to get into the van, then he disappeared and minutes later the truck exploded, flinging the laborers' bodies back,' said Yahya Ali, a worker who was standing nearby.

"Monday's attacks underscore deteriorating security in Iraq, where nearly 4,000 people have been killed since the start of the year, said violence monitoring group Iraq Body Count. In July, more than 810 people were killed in militant attacks.

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