Two men in an oil tanker truck, a shop keeper, two construction workers and a government employee were the victims of new insurgent attacks Saturday, one day after militants killed more than two dozen people with a car bomb in a Shiite farming village.
The surge in violence occurred as Iraqi political blocs unveiled their lists of candidates for Dec. 15 parliamentary elections, which the United States and its coalition partners hope will help restore enough stability that they can begin sending home their forces next year.
On Saturday morning, a roadside bomb destroyed one of several oil tanker trucks driving on a main road in south Baghdad, sending a fire ball up over the area and killing the two men inside, said police Capt. Ibrahim Abdul-Ridha. Four civilian passers-by were wounded.
Three separate drive-by shootings in the capital killed two construction workers and wounded three; seriously wounded a shopkeeper in the Dora district; and hit a car carrying Cabinet adviser Ghalib Abdul Mahdi to work, wounding him and killing his driver, police said.
In Samarra, 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, a roadside bomb killed a farmer on his tractor and seriously wounded two other civilians, said police Capt. Laith Mohammed.
On Friday night, the corpses of three handcuffed and blindfolded Iraqis were found in Baghdad, and police said an Iraqi soldier and the brother of a policeman were gunned down.
A new report by the U.S. Pentagon estimated that that 26,000 Iraqis have been killed or wounded by insurgents since Jan. 1, 2004. In the most recent period, from Aug. 29 to Sept. 16, an estimated 64 Iraqis became casualties each day, the report indicated. A recent Associated Press count found that at least 3,870 Iraqis have died in the last six months.
Last week, a U.S. military spokesman told The Associated Press that as many as 30,000 Iraqis may have died during the war, which began with the U.S. invasion in March 2003. But independent analysts say that figure could be much higher, with estimates ranging from at least 30,000 to as high as 100,000 or more.
Also Saturday, a bomb hidden in a truck loaded with dates exploded in the center of the Shiite farming village of Huweder, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, killing 26 people and injuring at least 45.
The bomb exploded as villagers were heading to the mosque for prayers or outdoors in the cool evening breeze to break the daylong fast they observe during the holy month of Ramadan.
Shiite civilians are frequent targets of Sunni extremists, including Iraq's most feared terror group, al-Qaida in Iraq, which considers members of the majority religious community to be heretics and collaborators with U.S.-led forces. Iraq's security services are staffed mainly by Shiites and Kurds.