BAGHDAD - Insurgents bent on destabilizing Iraq killed at least 46 people in numerous attacks around the country on Sunday, striking targets as varied as a coffee shop, a wedding party convoy, and a carload of off-duty soldiers. The attacks are part of a months-long wave of killings, the country's worst spate of bloodshed since 2008.
One of the boldest attacks happened near the northern city of Mosul, where militants set up a fake security checkpoint, then captured five soldiers and shot them dead, a police officer said. The soldiers were in civilian clothes and returning to base in a taxi.
Inside Mosul, gunmen in a speeding car shot and killed a grocer, he said, though the motive was not immediately clear. The grocer was a member of the Shabak ethnic group, which has its own distinct language and religious beliefs.
Another police officer said a car bomb exploded as a judge drove past in the northern town of Balad, killing three nurses and a man who had been walking nearby. Thirteen other people were wounded, he added.
Attacks have been on the rise since a deadly security crackdown in April on a Sunni protest camp. More than 3,000 people have been killed during the last few months, raising fears the country could see an even deadlier, sectarian round of bloodshed similar to what brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.
Many of Sunday's victims were civilians going about their normal business.
In Madain, about 15 miles southeast of Baghdad, a car-bomb explosion killed four and wounded 12, another police officer said. Authorities reported that another bomb there struck a group of young people playing soccer, killing four and wounding 13.
Multiple blasts hit the city of Baqubah, including one next to a wedding party convoy that killed four and wounded 17, police said.
In Baghdad, explosions killed at least 16, officials said.