Iraq attacks death toll rises to 114
The toll in a triple bombing in the southern Iraqi city of Basra has risen to 30, a morgue official says, bringing to 114 the number of people killed across the country on Monday.
The count from the medical official at the Basra morgue almost doubled the number of dead originally reported in three bombings that ripped through the city.
The relentless cascade of bombings and shootings — hitting at least 10 cities and towns as the day unfolded — raised questions about whether Iraqi security forces can protect the country as the U.S. prepares to withdraw half of its remaining troops in the country over the next four months.
Officials were quick to blame insurgents linked to al-Qaeda for shootings in the capital, saying the militants are redoubling efforts to destabilize the country at a time of political uncertainty.
The attacks came as Iraq's political factions were still bogged down in negotiations to form a new government, more than two months after inconclusive parliamentary elections.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shia bloc has tried to squeeze out election front-runner Ayad Allawi — a secular Shia heavily backed by Sunni Arabs — by forging an alliance last week with another religious Shia coalition.
The worst of Monday's violence hit the city of Hillah, capital of Babil province, about 95 kilometres south of Baghdad, where two car bombs lured onlookers and rescuers before a suicide bomber blew himself up in their midst. A total of 45 people were killed in the triple blasts.
In Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, three bombs exploded in the city, including one that targeted a marketplace.