Insurgents killed at least 58 people in a wave of attacks against Iraqi security forces yesterday, gunning down soldiers at an army post and bombing police recruits waiting in line to apply for jobs, officials said.
The violence, which struck at least 11 cities and also wounded nearly 240 people, highlighted militant attempts to sow havoc in the country and undermine the government.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but security forces are a frequent target of al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch, which has vowed to reassert itself and take back areas it was forced from before US troops withdrew from the country last year.
Meanwhile, an Iraqi judge yesterday sentenced fugitive Iraqi vice president Tareq al-Hashemi to death by hanging for the murder of a lawyer and a brigadier general, a correspondent reported.
Hashemi, tried in absentia, has dismissed all charges against him as politically motivated. His secretary and son-in-law, Ahmed Qahtan, was also tried in absentia and sentenced to death.
The trial, which began in May, covered the first of about 150 charges leveled against Hashemi, one of Iraq’s most senior Sunni officials, and his bodyguards, who have been accused of running a death squad.