93 killed in Iraq's deadliest day this year
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An onslaught of bombings and shootings killed 93 people across Iraq today, officials said, in the nation's deadliest day so far this year.
The attacks come days after the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq declared a new offensive and warned in a statement that the militant group is reorganising in areas from which it retreated before US troops left the country last December.
Al-Qaeda has been seeking to re-assert its might in the security vacuum left by the departing Americans, seizing on Baghdad's fragmented government and the surge of Sunni rebels in neighbouring Syria to sow instability across Iraq.
US and Iraqi officials insist that the terror network's Iraqi wing, known as the Islamic State of Iraq, is nowhere as strong as it was when the nation threatened to fall into civil war between 2006 and 2008, and the Iraqi government is better established.
Still, the huge death toll today and an almost-daily drumbeat of killings last month show al-Qaeda remains fully capable of creating chaos in the foreseeable future.
The violence in 13 Iraqi cities and towns appeared coordinated: The blasts all took place within a few hours of each other. They struck mostly at security forces and
government offices -- two of al-Qaeda's favourite targets in Iraq.
"It was a thunderous explosion," said Mohammed Munim, 35, who was working at an Interior Ministry office that issues government ID cards to residents in Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City neighborhood when a car exploded outside. Sixteen people were killed in the single attack.
"The only thing I remember was the smoke and fire, which was everywhere, said Munim from his bed in the emergency room at Sadr City hospital. He was hit by shrapnel in his neck and back.
The worst attack happened in the town of Taji, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the capital.
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