Friday 19 January 2018

Scores killed as wave of bombs strike Baghdad

Smoke rises from the site of a bomb attack in Baghdad's Sadr City
Smoke rises from the site of a bomb attack in Baghdad's Sadr City

A wave of bomb attacks swept through the Shia districts of Baghdad yesterday on the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion, killing 57 people.

The strikes were a demonstration that al-Qa'ida in Iraq is capable of carrying out multiple bombings in the capital – despite hundreds of checkpoints, vehicles packed with explosives were still able to penetrate their targets.

Three bombs exploded in the Shia working class bastion of Sadr City killing 10 people, while another blew up at the entrance to the Green Zone sending a column of dark smoke into the sky. Other targets were typical of those selected in the past by al-Qa'ida and included a restaurant, where four people died, and a place where day labourers gather to seek work.

In Sadr City, where a minibus was set on fire, Hussein Abdul Khaliq, a government employee, told reporters: "We helped take some trapped women and children from outside the burning bus before the arrival of the rescue teams. Our clothes were covered in blood as we tried to rescue the trapped people or to move out the bodies. The attacks are new proof that the politicians and security officials are a huge failure."

Al-Qa'ida attacks have been on the rise this year with 259 civilians killed so far this month.

Attacks, directed almost exclusively against Iraq's Shia and Kurd communities, have struck all over central and northern Iraq. One bomb exploded earlier in the month in Dibis, an Arab-Kurdish town to the north of Kirkuk, where more than 100 schoolchildren were injured, last week in Baghdad, gunmen stormed the Justice Ministry.

The resurgence of al-Qa'ida is explained by a more open border with Syria where Syrian rebels, sympathetic to the Sunni community in Iraq, have seized power in the east of the country. The breakdown in relations between Arabs and Kurds and the increasing alienation of the Sunni, has created a climate of communal hostility in which al-Qa'ida flourishes. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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