BAGHDAD ~ At least 20 people were killed in a double suicide bombing in northern Iraq on Thursday, the deadliest attack since US forces pulled out of urban centres at the end of last month.
Two bombers blew themselves up just minutes apart in Tal Afar in an attack against a house used as a court annexe to interrogate suspects in “terrorist attacks,” police colonel Khaled Omar said.
Dr. Fathi Yassin at Tal Afar hospital said 20 people were killed and more than 40 wounded in the attack, which comes just a day after two car bombs exploded in the main northern city of Mosul, killing 12 people and wounding dozens more.
Another five people were killed and 17 injured when two bombs went off in a market in the mainly Shiite district of Sadr City in Baghdad, police and hospital sources said.
Tal Afar is a mostly Turkmen town between Mosul and the Syrian border and has often been the target of attacks.
In March 2007, it was hit by one of the deadliest single attacks in Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003 when a suicide truck bomb killed more than 150 people.
The spate of bombings comes just over a week after US troops left Iraq’s towns and cities on June 30 under an agreement that paves the way for a complete American military withdrawal by the end of 2011.
The four weeks leading up to the US withdrawal witnessed the highest death toll in the conflict-hit nation in 11 months, according to official figures.
A total of 437 people, including 372 civilians, were killed in June, according to figures compiled by government ministries – the highest toll since since July 2008.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had warned last month that insurgents and militias were likely to step up attacks in a bid to undermine confidence in Iraqi security forces.