16 killed in attacks in Baghdad as Iraq forces press assault against militant-held areas
BAGHDAD (AFP) - A series of attacks in and around Baghdad, including a spate of car bombs, killed 16 people on Monday as Iraqi forces pressed an assault against militant-held areas of Anbar province.
The latest bloodshed comes amid a surge in violence that left more than 1,000 people dead last month, the worst such figure in nearly six years, as security forces grapple with near-daily attacks and protracted battles with anti-government fighters.
Foreign leaders have urged the Shi'ite-led government to do more to reach out to the disaffected Sunni Arab minority in a bid to undercut support for militants but with parliamentary polls looming in less than three months, Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki has taken a hard line.
Despite officials insisting operations against militants, including those affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, are having an impact, the bloodshed has continued unabated.