Feb. 23 - Coordinated attacks strike Baghdad and other Iraqi cities raising fears of return to sectarian strife. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
A day of bloodshed in Iraq. A series of attacks across Iraq have killed at least 60 people, and wounded dozens. It was one of the bloodiest days of violence since U.S. troops pulled out in mid-December. In the town of Tuz Khurmatu, gunmen dressed as security forces attacked the local town council, killing two people and wounding 11 others. A witness describes the attack. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED GUARD OF LOCAL COUNCIL OF TUZ KHURMATU TOWN, SAYING: "We were guarding the entrance to the council during working hours when three masked men dressed in security forces uniforms attacked us, opening fire, and started to fire randomly. I went to the other side of the building to protect the head and the members of the council. Clashes erupted at the entrance to the council and one of the attackers threw a hand grenade and ran away." The attacks appear to pitch al Qaeda-linked Sunni Muslim insurgents against Shi'ites. The latest round of violence is raising fears of a return to the widespread sectarian carnage that tore Iraq apart and cost thousands of lives in 2006 and 2007. The violence comes after weeks of relative calm as Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Sunni leaders have sought to resolve a political crisis that threatened to unravel their power-sharing agreement following the U.S. withdrawal. More than a dozen blasts and attacks hit other cities across Iraq from Mosul in the north to Hilla, south of Baghdad, many of them targeting police. The blasts hit just weeks before Baghdad plans to host an Arab League summit, which has been postponed because of regional turmoil and acrimony between Iraq's Shi'ite-led government and some Sunni Gulf states. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters