BAGHDAD, July 23 (Xinhua) -- A series of attacks across Iraq on Monday killed at least 80 people and wounded some 282 others in a deadliest day in two years that shortly followed the local al- Qaida militant group's warning that it would start a new round of violence in an attempt to retake their previous strongholds.
One of the attacks occurred in the early morning when a car bomb and two roadside bombs struck a residential complex in Taji area, some 20 km north of Baghdad, killing up to 16 people and wounding 46 others, according to an Interior Ministry source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another deadly attack took place at the Shiite bastion of Sadr City neighborhood when a booby-trapped car struck a restaurant, killing 12 people and wounding up to 38 others, along with destroying part of the restaurant and damaging several nearby shops and cars.
Also in Baghdad, a car bomb ripped through an intersection in Husseiniyah district in northeastern part of the capital, killing three people and wounding 31 others, the source said.
In addition, two more car bombs were detonated during the day in two neighborhoods in western Baghdad, killing a total of three people and 12 others.
In north of Baghdad, gunmen pounded an Iraqi army base with mortar rounds and rockets before they stormed the base with their rifles near a village outside the town of Dhuluiyah, some 80 km north of Baghdad, killing 14 soldiers and an officer.
Separately, gunmen attacked a security checkpoint manned by the Awakening Council group members at the village of Albu-Nemir near the city of Samarra, some 110 km north of Baghdad, the killing two of them and wounding a third.
The Awakening Council group, also known as Sons of Iraq movement or Sahwa, consists of mostly former anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent militant groups, who turned their rifles to fight al- Qaida network after Sahwa's leaders became dismayed by al-Qaida's brutality and religious zealotry in the country.
Also in the morning, a civilian was killed and 35 were injured when two booby-trapped cars and three homemade bombs went off separately in central the city of Tuz-Khurmato, some 200 km north of Baghdad.
In Iraq's Kirkuk province, 11 people were killed and 35 others wounded by seven car bombs and five roadside bomb explosions across the province cities.
In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, a total of 13 people were killed and 48 wounded in separate bomb attacks, including three car bombs and three motorcycle bombs.
In southern Iraq, at least four people were killed and 36 wounded when a booby-trapped car parked at a busy marketplace at the predominantly Shiite city of Diwaniyah, some 180 km south of Baghdad.
An Interior Ministry officer, who refused to be named, told Xinhua that the attacks carry the fingerprints of al-Qaida "which is trying to send a message that it is still strong and has the ability to choose the time and the place for its attacks."
However, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which came one day after the top al-Qaida leader in Iraq announced that his group would launch a new wave of violence, with the aim of freeing al-Qaida prisoners and targeting the country's judges and investigators.
"We are starting a new stage of our struggle with a plan named 'breaking the walls,'" said an audio massage purportedly made by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the top leader of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).
Al-Baghdadi said that the priority of his plan is to free the " Muslim prisoners, chase and eliminate the judges and investigators and their guards."
He urged the Sunni tribal leaders to send their men to join al- Qaida which is returning to its previous strongholds. The militants evacuated from their strongholds after Iraq's anti-U.S. Sunni insurgent groups turned against them due to their indiscriminate killings against both Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities.
"On the occasion of the return of the Islamic State to the regions that we had evacuated, I urge you to send your sons to join the mujahideen (holy warriors) to defend your religion and honor," al-Baghdadi said.
Observers here, see that al-Qaida is trying to take advantage of the current vacuum left by the U.S. troops who has completed their withdrawal from Iraq.
WASHINGTON, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Monday strongly condemned the spate of attacks across Iraq in the past two days, the deadliest in the country since the withdrawal of U.S. troops late last year.
"The targeting of innocents is always cowardly. It's particularly reprehensible during this holy month of Ramadan," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters at a regular news briefing. Full story