Almost 100 people including three U.S. soldiers were killed and hundreds injured in Iraq on Thursday, when Iraqi militants assaulted five cities. This was a cruel act of protest to next week's formal handover to Iraqi rule.
Iraq's third-largest city Mosul was the worst hit, with suicide bombings killing 62 people and wounding 220, said a senior coalition military official, reports reuters.com.
According to afr.com, the fighting in Baquba, Fallujah, Mosul and Ramadi was the most serious challenge to the US-led coalition's efforts to restore stability since April, when Shiite Muslim radicals launched an uprising across central and southern Iraq.
The violence started in Baquba at dawn and spread like wildfire across the Sunni Muslim belt north and west from the capital, where the coalition has met armed resistance virtually since last year's invasion.
A U.S. official said there is no doubt that insurgents' activity would stop after June 30: "We would expect to see more activity like this as we get closer and closer to June 30, we don't think this was a one-off, we don't think this was an exception, we think we're going to see more of this."