By SAMEER N. YACOUB
A man inspects the damage at a cafe following a suicide bombing in Balad, 60 miles (80 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013. Three blasts including a suicide bomb in a cafe in Balad killed dozens of people in central and western Iraq on Monday evening, officials said. Militants frequently attack Shiite civilian targets in an attempt to undermine the government. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi prime minister promised Wednesday that security forces would continue targeting and arresting insurgents in response to the recent wave of deadly attacks, as violence continued in the country.
Violence has been on the rise across Iraq since a deadly crackdown by government forces on a Sunni protest camp in April, raising fears that the country could see a new round of widespread sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.
In a statement posted on his official website, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that 800 militants were arrested and dozens others were killed during the continuing security operation by Iraqi forces. He gave no dates for these operations.
“We will never give up confronting terrorism and the operations we started to hit the terrorists and their camps will continue,” al-Maliki said.
Security forces have carried out operations in Sunni areas around Baghdad following two brazen jailbreaks in July. About 70 people were killed and hundreds inmates escaped during the jailbreaks.
In violence Wednesday, police said a bomb exploded inside a cafe in Baqouba, killing seven people and wounding five others.
Baqouba, a former al-Qaida stronghold, is 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad.
Insurgent frequently attack crowded, soft civilian targets such as cafes, mosques and markets in order to kill as many people as possible. More than 3,000 people have been killed in violence during the past few months.