Scores killed in Iraq suicide bomb attacks - Asia - World - The Independent

Scores killed in Iraq suicide bomb attacks

Two suicide bombers wearing vests stuffed with explosives blew themselves up in separate attacks in Iraq today, killing almost 70 people, many of them Iranian pilgrims, police said.



The blasts occurred as apprehension grows in Iraq ahead of a pullout by US troops from city centres in June, and after warnings from officials that insurgent groups may try to take advantage of that to launch attacks.

A national election due at the end of the year also threatens a resurgence in violence just as the bloodshed of the past six years appeared to be receding.

The blast in central Baghdad took place as a group of Iraqi national police were distributing relief supplies to families driven from their homes during the sectarian slaughter and insurgency unleashed by the 2003 US-led invasion.

Fifty people were wounded and at least five children were among the dead, police said.

Red Crescent food parcels and shattered packets of chocolate biscuits were strewn in the blood pooled on the pavement after the attack, while a woman dressed in a black abaya robe wailed and beat her thighs in anguish.

"It is a suicide bomber. Obviously that has the fingerprints of al-Qa'ida," said Baghdad security spokesman Major-General Qassim Moussawi.

The second attack occurred near Muqdadiya, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, in the volatile province of Diyala. The suicide bomber appeared to have targeted a group of Iranian pilgrims in a crowded roadside restaurant at lunchtime.

All but two of the 40 dead were Iranians visiting Shi'ite Muslim religious sites in Iraq, police said. Sixty-eight people were wounded.

Violence across Iraq has fallen sharply over the past year, but insurgents such as Sunni Islamist al Qaeda still carry out regular attacks. Suicide bombings are often associated with al Qaeda.

A suicide bomber on Wednesday killed at least five people and wounded 15 inside a mosque in central Iraq, and on Monday, a suicide bomber in a police uniform killed four policemen in Diyala. Eight US soldiers were wounded.

Shortly after today's attacks, state-owned al-Iraqiya television reported that the purported leader of an al-Qa'ida-affiliated insurgent group, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, had been arrested in eastern Baghdad.

Baghdadi is said to be the head of the Islamic State of Iraq, one of several groups thought to be behind suicide bombings and other attacks in the northern city of Mosul and elsewhere in Iraq.

His arrest, which could not be confirmed, has been reported before. Security experts have speculated in the past that Baghdadi was a character invented by some extremist groups rather than a real person.

Some Iraqis expect violence to increase in Iraq as rival political and armed groups position themselves ahead of a national election due to take place at the end of the year.

Iraqi officials say al-Qa'ida and other groups are also likely to try to test the Iraqi security forces as US troops prepare to pull out of cities ahead of a full withdrawal by the end of 2011.

Suggested Topics
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week