Bombings, shootings around Iraq kill 22

2012-06-28 21:03
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Baghdad - Bombings and shootings around Iraq killed 22 people and wounded more than 50 on Thursday, authorities said, as a spike in violence made June Iraq's bloodiest month in almost a half a year.

The attacks in Shi’ite neighbourhoods and on security forces appeared mostly to be unrelated. They nonetheless underscore how deadly Iraq remains, even though violence has dropped dramatically since a few years ago when the country appeared about to descend into civil war.

Over the last month, more than 200 Iraqis have been killed in attacks.

Thursday's deadliest strike came around 09:30 in the Shi’ite Muslim neighbourhood of Washash in western Baghdad, where eyewitnesses said a taxi exploded outside a local market. Eight people died and 26 were injured, police and hospital officials said.

Insurgents

Hadil Maytham and her two children were eating breakfast in their nearby house when they heard the explosion.
"It shook the doors and the windows of the house," said Maytham.

"Then we heard shooting, probably by police who usually shoot randomly after explosions."

Bombings generally are a hallmark of Sunni Muslim insurgents linked to al-Qaeda, and Shi’ites remain one of their main targets.

Earlier on Thursday, a roadside bomb in a Shi’ite neighbourhood in southern Baghdad exploded as a police patrol was passing by, killing one person and wounding six.

Two more attacks on Shi’ite enclaves in northwest Baghdad wounded five more people, police said.

And in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province 115km west of Baghdad, another car bomb wounded seven people in the parking lot of the provincial council.

The largely Sunni province's deputy governor Dhari Arkan said the explosion early in the morning was designed to shake confidence in the government.

Unsafe

"The message of the terrorists is that no place is safe in Iraq," Arkan said.

Sunnis affiliated with the government and security forces also frequently come under attack.

In the Sunni city of Taji, just north of Baghdad, two cars parked about 100m apart from each other exploded outside the office of the local mayor at dawn, police said.

The mayor was not in his office at the time, but the blast killed five people and wounded 18, leaving craters in nearby homes.

Taji is home to a military base and is located about 20km north of Baghdad.

In the troubled province of Diyala, gunmen walked into a butcher shop in the provincial capital of Baqouba and shot dead two former Sunni militiamen who fought against al-Qaeda.

A separate attack on a checkpoint killed two more militia members and two police.

Traitors

The police’s Ghalib al-Karkhi said the gunmen used pistols fitted with silencers to assassinate the former members of the Sahwa or Awakening militia, which broke away from the insurgency to join US troops in fighting al-Qaeda at the height of the war.

Sahwa members are frequent targets of the insurgents, who consider them traitors.

Gunmen in two cars also opened fire on a checkpoint in Baqouba, 60km northeast of Baghdad, killing two police officers and two Sahwa militiamen, police and hospital officials said.

Two more Sahwa members were shot and killed while manning a checkpoint in the central city of Samarra, 95km north of Baghdad, police said.

While violence has dramatically dropped from the wide scale sectarian fighting between 2006 and 2008, deadly bombings and shootings in Iraq still happen almost every day.

The recent increase in attacks comes as the government is embroiled in a months-long political crisis in Iraq that has Shi’ites, Sunnis and Kurds calling for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to resign for sidelining his political opponents. The impasse has all but paralyzed the government.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  nouri al-maliki  |  religion  |  iraq

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