Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki still insists there’s no civil war, and none looming in the future, either. From AP:
BAGHDAD, Iraq – A wave of bomb attacks and shootings swept Iraq Sunday, killing dozens of people despite a massive security operation in the capital and appeals from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for an end to sectarian fighting.
Al-Maliki insisted that his government was making progress in combatting attacks by insurgents and sectarian clashes between Shiites and Sunnis.
“We’re not in a civil war. Iraq will never be in a civil war,” he said through an interpreter on CNN’s “Late Edition.” “The violence is in decrease and our security ability is increasing.”
Asked about U.S. allegations that Iran is supporting Iraqi groups involved in sectarian violence, al-Maliki said the reports were being investigated. He said Iraqi authorities were in contact with Iran in order to determine the veracity of the information “and to prevent this interference.”
Across Iraq, Sunday’s attacks left more than 50 people dead.
A group of assailants in three cars raked an open-air night market with gunfire, killing at least 12 people and wounding 25 others, police said.
The gunmen fired indiscriminately at throngs of people at the main market of Khalis, a mostly Shiite town 50 miles north of Baghdad, Diyala provincial police said. Earlier in the day, another six people were killed and 14 wounded when a bomb exploded
on the outskirts of the town.
In downtown Baghdad, a bomb in a minibus exploded outside the Palestine Hotel, killing nine people and wounding 16, while a car bomb outside the offices of a government-run newspaper left three dead and at least 29 wounded, police and witnesses
Two back-to-back suicide car bombings in the northern city of Kirkuk killed nine people and wounded 22, hours after another suicide car bomb killed one person and wounded 16.
In Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, a motorcycle bomb at a night market killed four people and wounded 15, the governor’s office said.
Drive-by shootings also killed two people in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad; one in Numaniyah, a town near Kut, 100 miles southeast of the capital; and another three — believed to be the bodyguards of a member of parliament — in Dujail, 50 miles north of the capital, police in both cities said.
In Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, police found the bodies of eight people in various parts of the city, Capt. Rasheed Al-Samerayi of Mahmoudiyah police said. All had been handcuffed and blindfolded, he said.