A series of car bombs exploded across Iraq's capital today, killing scores of people in a day of violence that saw militants storm a university in the country's restive Anbar province and take dozens hostage, authorities said. Reuters puts the number dead at more than 60. The attacks in Baghdad largely focused on Shiite neighborhoods, underscoring the sectarian violence now striking in Iraq. With US troops gone, Iraq finds itself fighting on fronts across the country, as separate clashes in a northern city killed 21 police officers and 38 militants, officials said.
All the bomb attacks happened in a one-hour period. The day began with militants killing three police officers on guard at the gates of Anbar University, an official said. The gunmen reportedly detained dozens of students inside a dorm. Shiite students at the school of 10,000 were terrified, one student who was taken hostage said, as the gunmen identified themselves as belonging to an al-Qaeda splinter group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. After several hours, gunmen left the university under unclear circumstances. "We thank God that this crisis ended almost peacefully and no student was hurt, as far as I know," the student said.