56 Killed in Blasts Across Iraq
Dozens wounded; explosions end weeks of relative peace
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 15, 2011 6:15 AM CDT
An Iraqi man inspects damages at the Mar Afram Syriac Orthodox Church following an explosion in the northern city of Kirkuk on August 15, 2011.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Bombs struck more than a dozen Iraqi cities this morning, killing 56 and wounding dozens more. The coordinated explosions mark the first major violence in a comparatively peaceful month of Ramadan, the AP notes; the violence comes as as officials debate whether to maintain a US presence in the country beyond the end of the year.

In the most devastating attack, a pair of marketplace explosions in the southern city of Kut killed 35 and wounded 64, say observers. Seven different explosions hit the province of Diyala, killing 10. Meanwhile, an insurgent drove an explosives-laden car into a checkpoint near the southern city of Najaf, where four were killed and 32 injured. No one has yet claimed responsibility.