BAGHDAD (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up among a crowd of Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad and another detonated his explosives inside a cafe north of the capital, the deadliest of several attacks across Iraq on Saturday that killed at least 48 people.
The killings, which also included attacks on journalists and anti-extremist Sunni fighters, are part of the deadliest surge in violence to hit Iraq in five years. The accelerating bloodshed is raising fears that the country is falling back into the spiral of violence that brought it to the edge of civil war in the years after the 2003 U.S.
The pilgrims were targeted late Saturday as they passed through the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah en route to a prominent shrine in the nearby Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah, according to police officials.
At least 24 people, including four policemen manning the checkpoint, were killed and 50 others were wounded, the officials said.
Around the same time, another suicide bomber blew himself up in a cafe in the town of Balad, a largely Shiite town surrounded by Sunni communities about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad. Balad Mayor Malik Lefta said at least 13 people were killed and 22 were wounded in that attack.