BAGHDAD/ARBIL: Bombings across Iraq killed at least 35 people in attacks that appeared to be revenge for an assault on a Sunni mosque that has deepened sectarian conflict.
A bomb also exploded in the northern city of Arbil yesterday, a rare attack unsettling the relative stability the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region has enjoyed. Local television footage showed firefighters dousing the charred remains of a car in Arbil.
In Baghdad, a bomber rammed a vehicle into an intelligence headquarters, killing at least eight people, police. Near Tikrit, a suicide bomber driving a military Humvee packed with explosives attacked a gathering of soldiers and Shia militias overnight, killing nine.
Bombings, kidnappings and execution-style shootings occur almost daily, echoing the dark days of 2006-2007, the peak of a sectarian civil war.
In addition to the Arbil attack, three bombings that appeared to target Kurdish forces killed 18 people in Kirkuk, 250km north of Baghdad, security sources said.
The violence came as the US, which is carrying out air strikes in Iraq against Islamic State (IS) jihadists, ramped up its rhetoric over the grisly killing of journalist James Foley by the group and shown in a video posted online. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Foley’s beheading “represents a terrorist attack against our country”.
Islamic State routed Kurdish forces in its latest advance through the north. Two of Iraq’s most influential Sunni politicians suspended participation in talks on forming a new government after the militiamen carried out the mosque attack.
Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq and Parliament Speaker Salim Al Jibouri have pulled out of talks with the main Shia alliance until the results of an investigation into the killings are announced. Jibouri, a moderate Sunni, condemned both Islamic State as well as the Iranian-trained Shia militias who Sunnis say kidnap and kill members of their sect with impunity.
“We will not allow them to exploit disturbed security in the country to undermine the political process. We believe the political process should move on,” he said.