Insurgents in Iraq have carried out a wave of bombings and shootings that killed at least 92 people in a 24-hour period that coincided with an Iraqi court sentencing the country’s fugitive Sunni vice president to death for murder.
The onslaught began late Saturday with gunmen killing and wounding Iraqi soldiers at an army post north of Baghdad. The violence continued Sunday morning and afternoon with car bombs and other attacks reported in and around the cities of Abu Ghraib, Baquba, Basra, Kirkuk, Mosul, Nasiriyah, Samarra, Taji, Tal Afar and Tuz Khormato.
In one of the deadliest attacks, two car bombs exploded near a market and Shi’ite shrine in the southern town of Amara, killing at least 14 people. More car bombs exploded in predominantly Shi’ite areas of the capital Baghdad late Sunday, hours after the Iraqi court handed the death sentence to Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the killings that marked one of Iraq’s deadliest days of the year. But, Iraqi officials suspected minority Sunni al-Qaida militants who have staged periodic mass casualty attacks in their campaign to undermine Iraq’s majority Shi’ite-led government.
The court convicted Hashemi and his son-in-law in absentia of plotting the murder of a Shi’ite security official and a lawyer. Hashemi fled Baghdad after Iraqi authorities issued a warrant for his arrest last December and eventually sought refuge in neighboring Turkey. He has denied accusations that he ran death squads targeting majority Shi’ites.