Shootings and a bombing in northern Iraq killed six people yesterday, including a local government official, in the latest outburst of violence roiling the country.
Also yesterday, a spokesman for Iraq’s prime minister said that outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to visit Iraq on Thursday. It will be the Iranian leader’s second visit to Iraq while in office.
The spokesman said Ahmadinejad would meet with senior Iraqi officials and visit Shiite holy shrines in Najaf and Karbala during the two-day visit.
Police officials said yesterday’s first attack happened early in the day when gunmen killed two soldiers in an assault on their security checkpoint in Mosul, 360km northwest of Baghdad.
Hours later, a roadside bomb killed a municipal council member and his son in a town near Mosul. Gunmen in another area just south of Mosul also sprayed a security checkpoint with bullets, killing two policemen.
Hospital officials confirmed the death toll. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media.
Iraqi is being hit by its worst waves of violence in years, raising fears the country is heading back toward the widespread sectarian fighting that peaked in 2006 and 2007. More than 2,600 people have been killed since the start of April.
Violence has spiked since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
On Saturday, attacks in Iraq killed at least 24 people, most of them near Sunni mosques in Baghdad as late-evening prayers held during the holy month were ending.
A car packed with explosives went off near the Mulla Hwesh mosque in Baghdad’s western district of Jamia, killing at least seven people, and a suicide bomber blew himself up in the southern Doura neighborhood, leaving 16 dead.
It was not clear who was behind Saturday’s explosions.
So far this month, about 334 people have been killed in militant attacks, according to monitoring group Iraq Body Count.
The number of people killed in militant attacks last month was 761.
Additional reporting by Reuters