Insurgents bent on destabilizing Iraq killed at least 46 people in numerous attacks scattered around the country Sunday, striking targets as varied as a coffee shop, a wedding party convoy and a carload of off-duty soldiers.
The attacks are part of a months-long wave of killing that is the country’s worst spate of bloodshed since 2008. The violence is calling into question the security forces’ ability to protect the country and raising fears that Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic divisions are pushing it back toward the brink of civil war.
One of the day’s boldest attacks happened near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where militants set up a fake security checkpoint, captured five soldiers and shot them dead, a police officer said. The soldiers were dressed in civilian clothes and returning to base in a taxi.
Inside Mosul, other gunmen in a speeding car shot and killed a grocer, he said, though the motive was not immediately clear. The grocer was a member of the Shabak ethnic group, which has its own distinct language and religious beliefs.
Mosul, a former insurgent stronghold, is about 220 miles northwest of Baghdad.
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.