January 5, 2012
January 5, 2012
A series of explosions against Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad killed at least 21 people and wounded 57 others on Thursday morning, security officials said.
In the north Baghdad district of Kadhimiyah, twin car bombs killed 12 people and wounded 22 others, a defense ministry official said, while an interior ministry official put the toll at 15 dead and 31 wounded
A booby-trapped motorcycle followed by twin roadside bombs at a hospital in Sadr City, meanwhile, killed nine people and wounded 35 others, according to AFP news agency.
The roadside bombs in the impoverished Shi’ite neighborhood of SadrCityexploded at around 7:00 a.m. (0400 GMT), an Al Arabiya correspondent confirmed.
The blasts were reportedly near a group of day laborers waiting to pick up work.
“There was a group of day laborers gathered, waiting to be hired for work. Someone brought his small motorcycle and parked it nearby. A few minutes later it blew up, killed some people, wounded others and burned some cars,” a police officer at the scene, declining to be named, told Reuters.
Twin bomb attacks in Kadhimiyah, another Shiite district in the north of the capital, killed another person and wounded eight more, the interior ministry official said.
Renewed sectarian strife erupted in Iraq as the last U.S. troops were leaving in mid-December and the violence was the worst since a series of explosions across the Iraqi capital on Dec. 22 killed 60 people
On Tuesday, members of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc boycotted Iraq’s parliament and cabinet, accusing Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s bloc of governing alone in a power-sharing coalition that was supposed to ease sectarian tensions.
During the withdrawal of U.S. troops, Maliki sought the arrest of a Sunni vice president and asked parliament to remove Maliki’s Sunni deputy.
Maliki’s moves against Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq and a spate of bombings that have killed at least 78 people in mainly Shi’ite areas of Baghdad have only deepened the fears.
Saleh al-Mutlaq, also a member of Iraqiya, has decried Maliki as a dictator “worse than Saddam Hussein,” and the premier has called for him to be sacked. MPs were due to have considered that request on Tuesday, but the motion was not discussed or voted on.
The United States and United Nations have urged calm amid the political standoff and called for national leaders to hold talks to end the row, but no such meetings have yet taken place.
The inclusion of Iraqiya in the governing coalition was considered crucial to prevent a slide back into the kind of sectarian violence that killed thousands and took Iraq to the brink of civil war in 2006-7.
Many Sunnis have complained of being sidelined in the political process since Saddam was ousted and majority Shi’ites took power.
By AL ARABIYA WITH AGENCIES