A wave of car bombings targeting those celebrating the end of Ramadan across Iraq killed 69 people today, a bloody reminder of the inability of Iraqi authorities to stop violence threatening to spiral out of control, despite promises that it would step up security for today's Eid al-Fitr celebrations, which mark the end of the Muslim holy month. Many of the attacks occurred within an hour of each other, suggesting a level of coordination in the assaults. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, though security forces and civilians are frequently targeted by al-Qaida's Iraq branch.
This year's Ramadan was the most violence since 2007, with 671 people killed. Police said the deadliest of today's attacks took place when a suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden car into a residential area in the town of Tuz Khormato, 130 miles north of Baghdad, killing eight people and wounding dozens. "My shop's windows were smashed and smoke filled the whole area," says a shoe shop owner, who survived an attack near his store in New Baghdad. "I went outside of the shop and I could hardly see because of the smoke. ... At the end, we had a terrible day that was supposed to be nice because of Eid."