BAQUBA, Iraq (Reuters) - At least 28 people were killed in bombings and shootings across Iraq on Thursday, police said.
In the deadliest attack, a bomb in a parked car exploded in a busy market killing 14 people in central Muqdadiya, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of the capital Baghdad, police said.
“I was sitting in my neighbor’s shop when suddenly we heard a big explosion,” said eyewitness Salim Aziz.
“I had no time to see anything, and when I opened my eyes, I found myself at the hospital and I was injured in my right hand and left leg, surrounded by dozens of wounded people,” he added.
Iraq has been rocked by daily attacks that have raised fears of a return to full-blown sectarian conflict in a country where Kurds, Shi‘ite and Sunni Muslims have yet to find a stable way of sharing power.
Sunni Islamist militants have been regaining momentum in their insurgency against the Shi‘ite-led government in recent months, invigorated by the civil war in neighboring Syria, which has inflamed sectarian tensions in Iraq and the wider region.
A bomb placed in a garden where people were celebrating a wedding exploded killing four people the Amiriya District of Baghdad on Thursday.
Gunmen using silenced weapons shot dead four young men in four separate incidents in Baghdad.
In Madaen, about 30 km (20 miles) southeast of Baghdad, a roadside bomb planted near a cafe went off, killing three people.
Militants killed a police officer in the northern city of Mosul, while a child died in a roadside bombing, and a civil servant was also shot dead.
More than 750 people have been killed in militant attacks in Iraq so far in July, according to violence monitoring group Iraq Body Count.
The steady deterioration of security in Iraq was highlighted by a mass jailbreak near the capital on Sunday when around 500 convicts, including senior al Qaeda operatives, escaped after militants attacked two prisons.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which was formed through a merger between al Qaeda’s Syrian and Iraqi branches, claimed responsibility for the raids and said it had freed its jailed comrades after months of preparation.
One security official told Reuters on Tuesday that some of the escaped inmates were heading to Syria to join the ranks of the mainly Sunni rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite sect derives from Shi‘ite Islam.
Shi‘ite fighters from Iraq have also joined the conflict on Assad’s side, along with Lebanese militia Hezbollah.
Insurgents in Iraq have been recruiting from the country’s Sunni minority, which increasingly resents Shi‘ite domination since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Reporting by a Reuters reporter in Baquba, Ziad al-Sinjary in Mosul and Kareem Raheem in Baghdad; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Alison Williams