A spate of bomb, rocket and mortar attacks rocked areas of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least nine people and exploding part of a major oil refinery, sending up a thick column of smoke that dominated the city's skyline for much of the day.
Seven of the people killed were prison inmates who died after mortar shells landed on a prison in central Baghdad, smashing its walls.
The attacks came amid an overall lull in violence here, where terrorist attacks have plummeted compared with the numbers in previous months and years.
Yet despite the relative calm, the pace of attacks has quickened of late, with suicide and other bombers killing at least 50 people nationwide in the past week.
The above is from Cara Buckley's "At Least 9 Killed in Baghdad Attacks" (New York Times). Buckley notes the fire at the refinery and the continued differences between Iraqi officials and US ones over what happened (Iraqi officials say the fire was cause by a rocket attack which appears to have the support -- based on yesterday's press accounts -- of most eye witnesses).
Officials continue to be targeted in Iraq and Reuters notes this: "A suicide car bomb exploded near the homes of senior Iraqi politicians in a heavily guarded neighbourhood of western Baghdad on Tuesday, killing two people and wounding 12, police said." CNN says that the attack took place just outside the Green Zone and that the "politicians" were Saleh Mutlaq and CIA asset and former Iraqi puppet prime minister Ayad Allawi. Jordan's Al Bawaba notes that Mutlaq is in Jordan presently and that the Baghdad bombing also left at least 12 wounded. Lori Hinnant (AP) reports that Allawi was also out of the country during the bombing and quotes Mutlaq declaring, "Everyone is vulnerable. We have been targeted by three groups -- the Americans, Iraqi forces and a suicide bomber. Everyone should wake up and do something to change the situation."
The bombing happened today. News of an attack yesterday is only emerging today. Reuters reports that Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Ajil, "head of a Baghdad psychiatric hospital," was shot dead yesterday as he was returning to his residence by "gunmen on two mortocyles" in Bahgdad.
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