Iraq Will Not Become Another Syria, Says Government

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -

Car bomb attacks killed at least 34 people in Baghdad on Thursday, but the Interior Ministry said it would not allow al-Qaida, which it blames for a surge in sectarian violence, to turn Iraq into another Syria.

More than 100 people were wounded in at least eight blasts, one of which was near the “Green Zone” diplomatic complex. It was part of a wave of bloodshed that has taken the monthly death toll in Iraq to the highest levels in five years.

“Iraq’s streets have become a battleground for sectarian people who are motivated by hatred and religious edicts, and [are] daring to kill innocent people,” the Interior Ministry said in an unusually frank statement.

“It is our destiny to win this battle, which is aimed at destroying the country and turning it into another Syria,” the ministry said.

Earlier on Thursday the ministry had put the death toll much lower, at three dead and 44 wounded.