BAGHDAD (AP) — Insurgent attacks across Iraq, including a suicide bombing targeting a Shiite wedding party, killed at least 24 people Thursday, authorities said.
Attacks have been on the rise in Iraq since a deadly security crackdown in April on a Sunni protest camp. More than 3,000 people have been killed in violence during the past few months, raising fears Iraq could see a new round of widespread sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.
Violence also has stepped up in strikes on so-called soft targets — like civilians at coffee shops or shopping along busy commercial streets. On Thursday night in the northern town of Dujail, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt in the midst of a wedding party for a Shiite family, killing nine civilians and wounding 27, a police officer said.
Dujail, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad, is a Shiite Muslim town surrounded by Sunni areas. Tensions between the two branches of Islam have grown as Sunnis feel locked out of the country's Shiite-dominated government.
In another bloody attack, a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden fuel tanker into a military barrack in Iraq's western Anbar province. The attack killed at least nine soldiers and wounded 11, a police officer said.
A former insurgent stronghold, Anbar province is one of the areas where militants have intensified their attacks to undermine government efforts to increase security.