What’s left of Iraq seems to be disintegrating.
Sprawling street battles between militia gunme and Iraqi security forces erupted in three cities on Wednesday on a day of wide-ranging violence that underscored the grave security situation across much of Iraq.
In the northern city of Mosul, more than 200 Sunni Arab insurgents carried out a sophisticated attack on several targets using suicide car bombers, rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles and improvised bombs, said Major General Watheq al-Hamdani, the top police commander in Mosul.
Earlier in the day, in the southern city of Diwaniya, scores of militiamen loyal to the Shiite cleric Mokatada al-Sadr fought street battles against Iraqi soldiers as government security forces swept into militia strongholds as part of a government crackdown, local officials said.
At least 11 people — eight civilians, two police officers and one solider — were wounded in the fighting, which raged for seven hours and by some official estimates involved as many as 200 militia members, police and army commanders said. As the clashes worsened, the provincial governor moved his family to safety in Iran, a police commander said.
News agencies reported that similar clashes, pitting the Iraqi police against Mahdi militiamen angry about the arrest of two of their members, broke out late Tuesday in Nasiriya, about 120 miles southeast of Diwaniya, and continued into the early morning hours on Wednesday. At least nine Iraqis were killed and 75 wounded in the fighting, The Associated Press reported.
Few other regions across Iraq were untouched by violence on Wednesday.