Two bombs exploded in the usually quiet city of Kut in Iraq’s Wasit province on Tuesday, killing 12 people and wounding 55, a security source said.
A roadside bomb and then a car bomb were detonated in a busy commercial area near a gold market in the town center. Many of the casualties from the blasts, which hit an area with a bus station, restaurants and barber shops, were women and children.
While violence in Iraq has fallen in the last three years, bombings are still a daily occurrence, with militants believed to be exploiting a political vaccuum in the country nearly five months after an inconclusive general election.
Iraq has remained in a political void since its March 7 parliamentary election and Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish political factions have yet to sort out a coalition government.
“The remainder of the Baathists and al-Qaeda are trying to disrupt the stability of cities which haven’t had any security disruptions before,” said Khalil Ghafouri, head of the security committee of Wasit’s provincial council.
Nearly 400 civilians were killed in bombings and other attacks last month, almost double the June toll, Iraqi authorities say.
“I believe that terrorists are trying to prove their claim that they can hit the stable southern regions,” said Ibrahim Mohammed, a lecturer at the University of Kut and a former politician.
“Kut is not the target. The target is to prove that they can reach those stable regions,” he said.
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