Iraqi men inspect the site of a car bomb attack in Karbala, Iraq. (Alaa al-Shemaree / European…)
The U.S. State Department condemned the car bombings in Iraq that killed at least 69 people Saturday, calling them cowardly attacks by enemies of Islam, Iraq, the U.S. and the international community.
“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the cowardly attacks today in Baghdad,” Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement. “These attacks were aimed at families celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.”
Psaki said the attacks were similar to other recent suicide and car bombing attacks in Iraq. Most of the attacks were perpetrated by the militant group Al Qaeda in Iraq, she said.
Officials in Iraq said the bombings mainly targeted cafes and markets in and around Baghdad. Deaths and injuries from bombings were reported in several Baghdad neighborhoods and other cities, they said.
The death toll reportedly was the highest since July 20, when assaults on two prisons near Baghdad plus other attacks left 71 dead.
Violence has been on the rise across Iraq since a deadly crackdown by government forces on a Sunni Muslim protest camp in April, and attacks against civilians and security forces notably increased during Ramadan, the Associated Press reported.
Iraqi security forces increased patrols and checkpoints during the holiday celebrations.
"Our deepest condolences go out to the victims of today's attacks and we hope for the quick recovery of those injured," Psaki said. "The United States will stand with the Iraqi people as they work to overcome these horrific attacks perpetrated by a common enemy."
Turkish Airlines pilot, co-pilot kidnapped in Lebanon
Philippine leaders want U.S. troops back as bulwark against China
Convicted killer of DEA's 'Kiki' Camarena freed from Mexican prison