12 people killed in Iraq bombings

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Attacks in Iraq have killed at least 12 people and wounded dozens, officials have said, after a bloody day that claimed more than 70 lives across the country. A suicide bomber set off his explosives-laden vest on Tuesday at a military checkpoint in the town of Tarmiyah, 50km north of Baghdad. Fighters opened fire at the troops after the blasts, killing three soldiers and wounding nine, a police official said. Meanwhile, in the northern city of Tuz Khormato, two parked car bombs went off simultaneously, killing three civilians and wounding 38 people, said Mayor Shalal Abdool.
Escalating violence: In Kirkuk, 290km north of the capital, three bombs exploded back-to-back at a sheep market, killing six people and wounding many more, police Colonel Taha Salaheddin said. “I heard the explosions, but never thought this place would be targeted since these animals have nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with sect, nothing to do with ethnicity or religion,” Mahmoud Jumaa, whose cousin was killed in the multiple bombings, said. More than 200 people have been killed in the past week in attacks, with both Sunni and Shia communities targeted. Sectarian tensions have been worsening since Iraq’s minority Sunnis began expanding protests over what they say is mistreatment at the hands of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s mainly Shia-led government. Hours after Monday’s bombings, Maliki accused armed groups of trying to exploit Iraq’s political instability and vowed to resist attempts to “bring back the atmosphere of the sectarian war”. Maliki has announced plans to overhaul the country’s security strategy and personnel, and that the matter would be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Mass demonstrations by Sunnis, which began in December, have largely been peaceful. However, the number of attacks rose sharply after a deadly security crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in northern Iraq on April 23.