BAGHDAD - Bombs ripped through 10 Iraqi cities Thursday, killing at least 30 people and shattering a month of relative calm. Minority lawmakers decried the violence as a tragic but inevitable result of the Shiite-led government's attempts to dominate Iraqi politics.
Despite simmering sectarian tensions, a lull in deadly attacks since mid-March led many to hope that Iraq had turned a corner and away from widespread violence. That proved overly optimistic as at least 14 bombs and mortar shells exploded across 10 cities over three hours in the morning. At least 117 people were wounded, police said.
"What crime have we committed? How long will such violence continue?" wailed a woman, who would identify herself only by her nickname of Um Ali, after watching a car explode outside an apartment building in western Baghdad.
"This is security in Iraq," a man nearby muttered sarcastically as he inspected damage to his car.
Six of the bombings struck at security forces and government officials - frequent targets for insurgents.
In Baghdad alone, 12 people were killed, mostly in Shiite neighborhoods. The other attacks hit northern Iraqi cities - from Samarra, where a 2006 mosque bombing touched off the worst of the insurgency, to the ethnically mixed city to Kirkuk, to Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but a Baghdad military command spokesman, Col. Dhia al-Wakeel, said they resembled those carried out by al-Qaeda, the Sunni Muslim terror network.
Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers said the bombings likely were the result of a monthslong political impasse that has all but paralyzed Iraq's government since the U.S. military withdrawal at the end of last year. They said that continued bickering over a stalled power-sharing agreement with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, has opened the door to violence.
"The deterioration in the security situation is a result of the differences between the political powers," said Sunni lawmaker Hamid al-Mutlaq, a member of parliament's defense and security committee. He urged the government to strike a power agreement quickly with competing parties.
"And if they fail, they have to acknowledge that they can't lead the country and quit," said Mutlaq, a frequent Maliki critic.