Violence has been on the rise in Iraq all year, but the number of attacks against civilians and security forces has spiked during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began early last month. The surge in the bloodshed is raising fears of a return to the widespread killing that pushed the country to the brink of civil war after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
The deadliest attack took place late Sunday night when gunmen in a speeding car opened fire randomly on a gathering of people on a street in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, killing four people and wounding three, said Kirkuk deputy police chief Maj. Gen. Torhan Abdul-Rahman Youssef.
Earlier in the day, police officials said a roadside bomb struck an army patrol near the northern city of Mosul, killing three soldiers.
In Tikrit in central Iraq, a car bomb killed Judge Sajid Abdul-Amir as he was driving to his work, police said.
In eastern Baghdad, two people were killed in a blast, police said. Meanwhile, mortar rounds landed on houses in the capital’s western suburbs, killing two people, authorities said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, though security forces and civilians are frequently targeted by al-Qaida’s Iraq branch.
With Saturday’s attacks, at least 609 people have been killed since the start of Ramadan, according to an Associated Press count. Along with security officials being killed, there have been multiple bloody attacks targeting civilians in cafes as they broke their daily fast. It’s been the bloodiest Ramadan in Iraq since 2007.