Iraq suicide blasts kill 33, many children
BAGHDAD — Deadly attacks in Iraq killed at least 33 people on Sunday, including a dozen children slain when a suicide bomber detonated the explosives-laden car he was driving near their elementary school in the north of the country, officials said.
The attacks are the latest in a relentless wave of killing that has made for Iraq's deadliest outburst of violence since 2008. The mounting death tolls are raising fears that the country is falling back into the spiral of violence that brought it to the edge of civil war in the years after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Sunday's blasts began about 9:30 a.m. in the Shiite Turkomen village of Qabak, just outside the town of Tal Afar. The area around the stricken village has long been a hotbed for hard-to-rout Sunni insurgents and a corridor for extremist fighters arriving from nearby Syria.
One car bomb in the tiny village targeted an elementary school while children ages 6 to 12 were in class as another struck a nearby police station, Tal Afar Mayor Abdul Aal al-Obeidi said.
The dead included 12 children, the school principal and two policemen. Another 90 people were wounded.
The village is home to only about 200 residents, and part of the single-story school collapsed as a result of the blast, he said. Tal Afar is 260 miles northwest of Baghdad.
“We and Iraq are plagued by al-Qaida,” al-Obeidi said. “It's a tragedy. These innocent children were here to study. What sins did these children commit?”
Another suicide bomber, this time on foot, blew himself up hours later as Shiite pilgrims walked through the largely Sunni neighborhood of Waziriyah in the Iraqi capital.
At least 12 people were killed and 23 wounded in that attack, according to police and hospital officials.
It was the second time in less than 24 hours that a suicide bomber managed to thwart security checkpoints and target Shiite pilgrims making their way to a golden-domed shrine in northern Baghdad where two revered Shiite saints are buried.