U.N. official warns violence in Iraq 'ready to explode'

May 31, 2013 at 7:12 AM

BAGHDAD, May 31 (UPI) -- A series of bombings that killed at least 120 people prompted a U.N. official to warn Iraq could be "ready to explode" into a broader conflict.

The deaths since Monday raised the total of people killed in Iraqi violence this month to nearly 400, CNN reported.

U.N. special representative to Iraq Martin Kobler voiced sadness at the recent stepped-up violence and condemned an attack Thursday against the Anbar governor, who escaped injury when bombs exploded near his convoy in Ramadi.

Speaking in Baghdad, Kobler warned the situation could worsen if leaders don't act, CNN said.

"Systemic violence is ready to explode at any moment if all Iraqi leaders do not engage immediately to pull the country out of this mayhem," Kobler said.

The recent violence in Iraq comes amid heightened tensions between Sunnis and Shiites. Since December, tens of thousands of Sunni demonstrators have protested against the Shiite-led government.

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