Gunmen opened fire on day laborers in the capital early Friday, killing three and wounding a dozen in a drive-by shooting, while attacks elsewhere in the country claimed nine more lives as militants pressed their "all-out war" on Iraqi Shiites.
The violence Friday, on the Muslim day of prayer, followed two days of mayhem in Baghdad that left nearly 200 dead. The workers killed and injured had assembled in east Baghdad seeking day jobs, the AP reports.
"We are innocent people working for just ten thousand or twelve thousand (dinars, US$7-8 per day). Those criminals and terrorists came and did this to us," said Salah Aziz Ali, a wounded worker.
On Thursday suicide bombers killed at least 31 people in three suicide attacks targeting Iraqi police. A day earlier, at least 167 people were killed and 570 wounded in more than a dozen bombings in Baghdad. The largest single toll resulted from a suicide bombing against day laborers in the largely Shiite Kazimiyah neighborhood in north Baghdad.
The U.S. military continued attacks on militant strongholds in western Iraq along the Syrian border where militants hold many towns and villages along the Euphrates River as it flows southeastward from the Syrian border.
Al-Qaida in Iraq said the brutal bombings in Baghdad were in retaliation for the joint Iraqi-U.S. operation that pushed insurgents out of their stronghold in Tal Afar, also near the Syrian border but in the far north of Iraq.
The American military said U.S. jets pounded an abandoned school used by Al-Qaida in the town of Karabilah, about 320 kilometers (200 miles) northwest of Baghdad. Nine insurgents were killed in the Thursday night strike.
Before dawn Friday U.S. jets were called in again to destroy what the military said was a bomb factory in Haditha, also along the Euphrates in western Iraq.
Two days earlier al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi vowed to wage an "all-out war" on the country's Shiite majority, calling its members collaborators of the "Jews and Crusaders."
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18