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Baghdad: A wave of attacks across Iraq today killed 111 people in the country's deadliest day in two and a half years after al-Qaeda warned it would mount new attacks and sought to retake territory. Officials said at least 235 people were wounded in 28 different attacks launched in 19 cities, shattering a relative calm which had held in the lead-up to the start on Saturday of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
The violence drew condemnation from the United Nations special envoy to Iraq, the country's parliament speaker, and neighbouring Iran. In today's deadliest attack -- a string of roadside bombs and a car bomb followed by a suicide attack targeting emergency responders in the town of Taji -- at least 42 people were killed and 40 wounded, according to two medical officials.
"I heard explosions in the distance so I left my house and I saw a car outside," said 40-year-old Taji resident Abu Mohammed, who added that police inspectors concluded the vehicle was a car bomb.
In Baghdad, meanwhile, a car bomb outside a government office responsible for producing identity papers in the Shiite bastion of Sadr City killed at least 12 people and wounded 33 others, security and medical officials said. "This attack is a terrible crime against humanity, because they did it during Ramadan, while people are fasting," said one elderly witness who declined to be identified.