BAGHDAD (AP) — At least 19 people are dead after a truck packed with explosives blew up in a city north of Baghdad. Officials say 37 others were hurt in the attack on a busy commercial street.
The attack came as security forces and allied tribesman battled to put down an uprising by militants linked to al-Qaida who overran police stations in several Sunni cities.
The militants launched the attacks yesterday, fanning out to take over police stations and military posts in at least four cities and towns in western Anbar province. They freed prisoners, and set up checkpoints in the streets.
The surge in violence follows the decision by authorities to arrest a senior Sunni politician who was accused of terrorism. They also dismantled a Sunni sit-in protest that had been in place for months.
In an apparent move to raise Sunni support, security forces today arrested a controversial Shiite cleric who leads a militia backed by Iran.