Dozens Killed in Waves of Bombings in Iraq

At least 69 people were killed in 16 bombings in Iraq just days after the last American forces left the country and in the midst of  rising sectarian tensions between Shiite and Sunni politicians.

Most of the attacks hit Shiite neighborhoods, although some Sunni areas were also targeted. In all, 11 neighborhoods were hit by either car bombs, roadside blasts or sticky bombs attached to cars. There was at least one suicide bombing and the blasts went off over several hours. At least 14 went off in the morning and there were two more in the evening.

The deadliest attack was in the Karrada neighborhood, where a suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden ambulance blew himself up outside the office of a government agency fighting corruption. Two police officers at the scene said the bomber told guards that he needed to get to a nearby hospital. After the guards let him through, he drove to the building where he blew himself up, the officers said.

“I was sleeping in my bed when the explosion happened” said 12-year-old Hussain Abbas, who was standing nearby in his pajamas. “I jumped from my bed and rushed to my mom’s lap. I told her I did not to go to school today. I’m terrified.” At least 25 people were killed and 62 injured in that attack, officials said.

The events of the past few days are beginning to look like the country’s nightmare scenario. The alliance betweem Sunnis and Shiites in the government is collapsing, large-scale violence with a high casualty toll has returned to the capital, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appears to be making a move to grab the already limited power of the Sunnis.

Al-Maliki’s Shiite-led government this week accused Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, the country’s top Sunni political leader, of running a hit squad that targeted government officials five years ago, during the height of sectarian warfare. Authorities put out a warrant for his arrest.

Ayad Allawi, who heads a Sunni-backed party called Iraqiya, laid the blame for Thursday’s violence with the government.

“We have warned long ago that terrorism will continue … against the Iraqi people unless the political landscape is corrected and the political process is corrected, and it becomes an inclusive political process and full blown non-sectarian institutions will be built in Iraq,” Allawi told The Associated Press, speaking from neighboring Beirut.

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1 Comment

  1. The sheer futility of the Iraq War on display sooner than just about anyone expected.


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