At least 49 people were killed and 260 wounded in a series of deadly bomb attacks across Iraq on Monday, raising fear for a return of sectarian bloodshed between Sunni and Shiite communities.
The deadliest attack was near Iraq's northern city of Mosul, when two booby-trapped trucks exploded at about 4:50 a.m. (0150 GMT) in the Shiite-dominated village of Khaznah, some 20 km northeast of Mosul.
The massive blasts killed 30 people and wounded up to 155 others, and most of them were women and children, a police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Up to 40 houses were also destroyed and many of them demolished on the heads of dozens of families who were sleeping when the attacks occurred.
The village is inhabited by the Shabak minority, part of whom are Shiite and others are Sunni Muslims.
The state-run television of Iraqia aired a footage showing the devastation of dozens of houses and an old woman sitting on rubbles of a house crying and beating her head, grieving over her lost family members, while civilians and rescue teams were removing the debris looking for survivors or victims buried under demolished houses.
Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, is located some 400 km north of Baghdad. Parts of Nineveh are disputed areas between Arabs and Kurds, raising almost continuous tensions that threaten Iraq's fragile stability.
Meanwhile in Baghdad, 16 construction workers were killed and 82 wounded Monday when two car bomb explosions struck two parks in southern the capital.
The first car bomb exploded at about 6:30 a.m. (0330 GMT) at a park where construction workers gathered looking for a day-long job at the Amil district in southern Baghdad, killing seven workers and wounding 46 others, an Interior Ministry source said.
Few minutes later, a second car bomb targeted construction workers detonated at another park at the Shurta al-Rabia neighborhood in southwest of Baghdad, killing nine workers and wounding 36 others, the source said.
"This is not fair, killing and disabling innocent and poor people is not fair. I was very close to be one of them, but the huge blast took place in front of me, just as I was approaching the park," Ghassan Mohammed, a teacher in Amil district told Xinhua.
"I know some of the victims, who are from my neighborhood. Now we have families who have lost their only hope of making a living. What we got are more widows and orphans," Mohammed said sadly.
A third attack killed two people and wounded 14 others when makeshift bomb went off at a busy market place in the Sunni Arab neighborhood of Saidiyah in southwestern the capital.
A fourth bomb attack occurred in the day killed a civilian and wounded three others when a bomb planted in a car detonated in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Shula in northern Baghdad, the police said.
In addition, six more people were wounded, including two traffic policemen, by separate bomb attacks in Adhamiyah and Ghadier districts in the capital.
Sabah al-Shiekh, a professor at Baghdad University, blamed some powerful parties for the waves of deadly attacks as part of struggle ahead of the next January parliamentary elections.
"It is possible that some political parties are directly or indirectly behind the deadly attacks against a particular sect (Shiite) and some times against the other sect (Sunni) in order to fuel sectarian reprisal killings to serve their goals of winning in the coming parliamentary elections," Shiekh told Xinhua.
"Some high-profile attacks need influential groups that can fund expensive costs of such attacks," he added.
Despite the drop in violence in the last two years, recent series of attacks have raised concerns about the ability of Iraqi security forces to contain violence after the U.S. troops pulled out of Iraqi cities and towns on June 30 in line with a pact signed late last year between Baghdad and Washington.
(Xinhua News Agency August 11, 2009)