People gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad’s Al Shaab district yesterday.
BAGHDAD: More than a dozen bomb blasts ripped through Shia districts in and around Baghdad yesterday, the bloodiest in a wave of attacks which cost 86 lives across Iraq.
The worst of the bloodshed struck the capital and surrounding areas in a spate of apparently coordinated car bombings and suicide attacks targeting the morning rush-hour.
Angry residents of one neighbourhood chased down a suspected attacker and killed him before setting his corpse ablaze.
The unrest came despite widely publicised security operations targeting militants in Baghdad and to the north and west, though the government has faced charges of not dealing with the root causes of Iraq’s worst violence since 2008.
The spike in violence since the beginning of the year, with more than 3,700 people killed in 2013, has sparked concerns Iraq is teetering on the edge of a return to the brutal all-out sectarian war of 2006-2007.
Overall, violence in Baghdad and towns just south of the capital left 57 dead yesterday, while four others were killed in attacks in the northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul. More than 263 people were wounded nationwide.
“We are poor people, and all of our things have been burned, and our home has fallen to the ground,” said Marwa, an 18-year-old resident of Shaab, a Shia district in north Baghdad where four people were killed, and cars and nearby buildings damaged by two car bombs. “The politicians are fighting over positions and not looking after us,” she said, sobbing.
“The people are homeless because of these explosions. Who is going to compensate us? Who is going to compensate the youth?”
The deadliest attack, though, struck in the Jisr Al Diyala neighbourhood of southeast Baghdad, with at least nine people were killed and 27 others wounded in twin bombings. After the blast, residents ran down a man suspected of planting the second car bomb, stabbed him to death, set his corpse on fire and hung it from a lamppost, according to a police officer.
Security forces later lowered it and carried it away, witnesses said. Another car bomb in the Baghdad Jadidah area left three dead, also badly damaging nearby cars and shop fronts.
Further blasts went off in other major Shia neighbourhoods including Kadhimiyah and Sadr City, while five members of a Shia family were shot dead in their home. Iraqi lawmakers and the UN mission to Baghdad, meanwhile, condemned the violence.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Sunni militants linked to Al Qaeda frequently carry out such coordinated attacks targeting Shias. The attacks were the latest wave of coordinated bombings to hit Baghdad this month.
On August 6, at least eight car bombs and several roadside blasts 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. More than 600 people have already been killed so far this month, according to an AFP tally.
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.
Officials say security forces have in recent weeks dismantled 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. Agencies