Baghdad car bombs kill 28 in Shia districts


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The Independent Online

As Pakistan's embattled Shia community vented their fury at a deadly bomb attack in Quetta by Sunni militants, eight car bombs were exploding in Shia neighbourhoods in Iraq, killing 28 people.

No-one claimed responsibility for the blasts in Baghdad that tore into shops, restaurants and busy streets, but Sunni insurgents have stepped up their activity since the start of the year in a bid to undermine the Shia-led government and trigger deeper intercommunal fighting.

One blast tore off shop fronts in Qaiyara district while another left the remains of a car and its twisted engine littered across a high street in the busy, commercial Karrada district packed with restaurants and shops.

"I was buying an air conditioner and suddenly there was an explosion. I threw myself on the ground. I saw many people around, some of them dead, others wounded," said salesman Jumaa Kareem, his jacket spattered with blood in Habibiya district, which was also hit.

Sunday's blasts followed the assassination of a senior Iraqi army intelligence officer on Saturday. They are the latest in a wave of suicide bombings that indicate the insurgents determination to stoke sectarian tensions 10 years on from the US-led invasion that toppled former president Saddam Hussein. His removal saw the balance of power in Iraq shift from Sunni to Shia, but in recent months a wave of Sunni attacks has killed hundreds across the country.