A series of car bombs has caused chaos across Baghdad, targeting predominantly Shi’ite Muslim areas and killing at least 37 people.
Police said the attacks, thought to involve 10 distinct explosions, came at roughly the same time as the suicide bombing of a group of soldiers queuing up to be paid in northern Iraq.
Combined, the attacks killed 49 people in total and injured more than 100. As the sectarian violence in the country reaches its worst level since 2008, this morning’s coordinated attack in the capital was one of the biggest series of car bombs since 17 were detonated within one hour at the end of July.
There have been deadlier attacks in Baghdad recently – even last Sunday, 59 people were killed by a combination of suicide bombings, gunfire and IEDs (improvised explosive devices). The independent organisation keeping track of the violence, Iraq Body Count, said that as of yesterday there have been 904 civilian deaths in October alone.
After the attack which killed 12 troops in the city of Mosul, this morning’s worst violence was in the town of Nahrawan, just south of Baghdad itself. Two car bombs were reportedly detonated just moments apart at the town’s busy market, killing seven.
A single blast in Baladiyat killed another three. Suad Ahmed, a woman living nearby, told a Reuters reporter: “I was eating my breakfast when a powerful blast shook the building, shattering the window of my apartment and covering the dining table with pieces of glass.
“I was terrified, I heard women and children shouting next door. I started to cry. I was afraid of death.”
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for any of this morning’s attacks, Shi’ite civilians and state troops are regular targets for Sunni militants, who are seeking to destabilise Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government.
Al Qa’ida was forced underground in 2007, but has been steadily on the rise in recent years – resulting in an “inexorable rise” in civilian deaths, Iraq Body Count said. Around 3,000 civilians have been killed so far this year.