Wave of attacks kills at least 35 in Baghdad area
August 28, 2013 - 9:40:14 am
BAGHDAD: Coordinated car bombs ripped through mostly Shiite neighbourhoods in the Baghdad area during rush hour on Wednesday, killing at least 35 people, the latest in spiralling violence in recent months.
At least a dozen explosions most of them car bombs, but also at least one suicide attack went off in predominantly Shiite areas of the Iraqi capital, as well as a confessionally mixed town just to its south, security and medical officials said.
The attacks also wounded about 140 people, the officials added.
They came despite widely publicised security operations targeting militants in the capital and to the north and west, though the government has faced criticism it is not dealing with the root causes of Iraq's worst violence since 2008.
The rise in unrest since the beginning of the year, with more than 3,700 people killed in 2013, has sparked concerns the country is teetering on the edge of a return to the brutal all-out sectarian war that plagued it in 2006 and 2007.
The deadliest attack on Wednesday struck in the Jisr al-Diyala neighbourhood of southeast Baghdad, with at least seven people killed and 21 others wounded in twin bombings.
Another car bomb in the Baghdad Jadidah area, which left four dead, also badly damaged nearby cars and shopfronts, an AFP journalist said.
All that was left of the car bomb was mangled metal, while onlookers railed against the authorities for failing to ensure security.
Blasts also went off in other major Shiite neighbourhoods including Kadhimiyah and Sadr City.
The officials gave varying tolls, which is common in the chaotic aftermath of bombings in Baghdad, and the number of casualties appeared to be increasingly rapidly.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Sunni militants linked to Al-Qaeda frequently carry out such coordinated attacks targeting Shiite Muslims, whom they regard as apostates.
Wednesday's attacks were the latest wave of coordinated bombings to hit Baghdad this month.
On August 6, at least eight car bombs and several roadside bombs killed 31 people, while 47 people died in a spate of explosions and gun attacks in the capital on August 10. Five days later, 24 people died in nine bombings in Baghdad.
Iraq has seen a marked rise in the level of violence since the beginning of the year, coinciding with demonstrations by the country's Sunni Arab minority against alleged ill treatment at the hands of the Shiite-led government and security forces.
Though diplomats and analysts have urged broad-reaching moves to tackle Sunni frustrations, which they say give militant groups room to recruit and carry out attacks, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has vowed to press on with an anti-militant campaign led by security forces.
In recent weeks, officials have security forces have dismantled several militant training camps and bomb-making sites, arrested hundreds of alleged insurgents and killed dozens of others.
In addition to persistent security problems, though, the government has also failed to provide adequate basic services such as electricity and clean water, and corruption is widespread.
Political squabbling has also paralysed the government, which has passed almost no major legislation in years. (AFP)