A series of coordinated bomb attacks and shootings in Iraq has killed at least 70 people and injured scores more, according to security and hospital sources.
On Tuesday evening, a string of car bombings struck 11 different neighborhoods in the capital Baghdad, killing more than 50 people and injuring scores of others in a span of less than two hours. The attacks took place in predominantly Shia districts of the capital. "I saw a fireball and a huge cloud of smoke. We couldn't approach immediately fearing a second bomb, but we could hear the screams of people asking for help," said Ali Jameel, a policeman deployed in the Husseiniya district on the northern outskirts where two car bombs killed at least ten people. "A minute later a second blast happened nearby. Bodies were lying on the ground and some of the wounded were crawling to distance themselves from the blaze, leaving a trail of blood behind them". No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Iraqi officials say the main suspects are militants linked to al-Qaeda. Other incidents of violence across Iraq killed about 20 other people and injured dozens more. The incidents are the latest in a string of attacks across Iraq that have left more than 4,500 people dead since the beginning of 2013. According to the United Nations, a total of 1,057 Iraqis, including 928 civilians, were killed and another 2,326 were wounded in terrorist attacks throughout the country in July -- the deadliest month since 2008. And about 800 Iraqis lost their lives in August in the deadly attacks, a third of which took place in Baghdad. Iraq’s Interior Ministry has said that militants have launched an open war in Iraq and they want to push the Middle Eastern country into chaos. "The country is currently facing an open war from bloodthirsty sectarian forces that aim to plunge the country into chaos," the Interior Ministry said in a statement issued on July 30.