Iraqi officials said today that a blistering string of attacks across the country yesterday ultimately killed at least 93 people, as the extent of the violence grew clearer and mourners started to bury their dead. The day's attacks began early in the north of Iraq and ended with deadly bomb explosions near busy markets, restaurants, and ice cream parlors shortly before midnight. It was Iraq's deadliest day in more than three weeks. The attacks seemed meant to strike fear in Iraqis and undermine faith in the Shiite-led government's security measures ahead of what was supposed to be a festive holiday weekend.
Among the higher casualty numbers disclosed today were 21 people killed when a car bomb detonated shortly before midnight near an ice cream shop in Baghdad's predominantly Shiite Zafaraniyah neighborhood, according to police and hospital officials. Fourteen people were also killed in another bomb attack near an ice cream parlor in another poor Shiite district. Since the start of August, more than 190 people have been killed in violence across Iraq, showing that insurgents led by al-Qaeda's Iraqi franchise remain a lethal force eight months after the last US troops left the country. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but coordinated bombings and related attacks are a favorite tactic of the al-Qaeda offshoot, known as the Islamic State of Iraq. (Read more Iraq stories.)