News24

Iraq attacks death toll rises

2012-08-17 18:03

Baghdad — Iraqi officials said on Friday that a blistering string of attacks across the country the previous day ultimately killed at least 93 people, as the extent of the violence grew clearer and mourners started to bury their dead.

Thursday's attacks began early in the north of Iraq and ended with deadly bomb explosions near busy markets, restaurants and ice cream parlours shortly before midnight.

It was Iraq's deadliest day in more than three weeks. The attacks seemed meant to strike fear in Iraqis and undermine faith in the Shi'ite-led government's security measures ahead of what was supposed to be a festive holiday weekend.

Since the start of August, more than 190 people have been killed in violence across Iraq, showing that insurgents led by al-Qaeda's Iraqi franchise remain a lethal force eight months after the last US troops left the country.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Co-ordinated bombings and related attacks are a favourite tactic of the al-Qaida offshoot, known as the Islamic State of Iraq.

Among the higher casualty numbers disclosed on Friday were 21 people killed when a car bomb detonated shortly before midnight near an ice cream shop in Baghdad's predominantly Shi'ite Zafaraniyah neighbourhood, according to police and hospital officials.

'No safe place in Iraq'

Another bomb exploded near an ice cream parlour and fruit and vegetable stalls in the capital's Sadr City, another poor Shi'ite district.

The black, mangled body of a car sat in the middle of the street on Friday. Broken plastic chairs and blood-stained fixtures littered the sidewalk. That blast killed 14, authorities said.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to release the tallies to reporters.

Hassan Karim, aged 23, was in the Sadr City shop chatting with friends when the bomb went off.

"I saw a big flash, followed by thunderous noise. ... I opened my eyes to find myself in the hospital with my left hand bandaged," he said.

"Before yesterday, we thought there were still safe places to sit and have a nice time with friends, but with this explosion we know there is no safe place in Iraq. All the best security measures could not stop terrorists from killing people."

Tightening security


Elsewhere in the neighbourhood, dozens of people carried the coffins of relatives through the streets. Some mourners wept, while others sought solace by chanting "God is great."

Iraqi officials are tightening security ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan this weekend. They are hoping to thwart further violence as crowds gather in public places such as parks, shrines and mosques to mark the occasion.

Thursday's attacks, which included several bombings in the ethnically mixed northern flashpoint of Kirkuk, were Iraq's deadliest in weeks. On 23 July, a string of co-ordinated bombings and shootings left more than 100 dead.

Comments
  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-17 19:21

    Tragic. Shocking. The Islamic belief that "human life is valueless". It is VERY important that this is changed by Islamic spiritual leaders.

      shaik.spear.1 - 2012-08-17 22:46

      fred. What is shocking and tragic is the extend your islamophobia is affecting your judgement! Your statement is factually incorrect and irresponsible to say that ''the islamic believe that life is valuless'' it would be interesting to know what, if any, believe you follow!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-18 03:53

      You'd have to choose, decide to let go the pseudo-victim beliefs you hold first. I can't get through them. No-one can, not even your own Higher Self and Soul.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-18 03:55

      I'm talking about the belief that the afterlife is more valuable than human life. It's central to Islamic belief, with tragic consequences. The Jewish religion has the chosen race as a central belief, with similar negative consequences.

      shaik.spear.1 - 2012-08-18 13:28

      fred. If you gonna try to sound informed about what you say , atleast say something that makes sense. Anything remotely similar to that is ''it is benificial to seek reward in your after life by the good deeds you perform in this lifetime''. Your interpretation sounds like the athaeist version!

      mkyounus - 2012-08-19 10:20

      thanks to your pals in the usa for putting a beautiful country like iraq into such turmoil! colonization? my arse!!!

  • shaik.spear.1 - 2012-08-18 13:47

    the tragic result of a foreign concept forcefully implemented by parties far removed from the real life day to day living of these locals! They are far worste off now than ever before... And who knows for how long more before someone takes advantage of the vacuum!

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