New leadership crisis as Iraq descends into anarchy

A bomb ripped through a vegetable market in a Shia section of Baghdad and a senior Sunni leader escaped assassination as at least 36 people were killed yesterday in a surge of violence that pushed Iraq closer still to sectarian civil war.

An aide to Ibrahim al- Jaafari, the Prime Minister, meanwhile, lashed out at Sunni, Kurdish and secular political leaders who have mounted a campaign to deny him another term, saying the Shia United Iraqi alliance will not change its candidate.

Haider al-Ibadi accused Mr Jaafari's critics of trying to delay the formation of a new government. "There are some elements who have personal differences with Mr Jaafari. The Alliance is still sticking to its candidate," he said.

Leaders of three parties, including Sunnis, Kurds and the secularists of the former prime minister Iyad Allawi, agreed on Wednesday to ask the main Shia bloc to withdraw Mr Jaafari's nomination for prime minister. Shia officials confirmed receiving a letter asking them to put forward a new candidate.

The move raises a new hurdle in US-backed talks on an inclusive government, which broke down last week when Sunni parties pulled out in protest against attacks on Sunni mosques triggered by the bombing on 22 February of the golden-domed Askari shrine, a Shia mosque in the central city of Samarra.

Hundreds were killed in the sectarian fury that followed. They included 45 Sunni preachers and mosque staff, according to Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samaraie, the head of the government's Sunni Endowment, which takes care of Sunni mosques and shrines. He told a news conference that 37 Sunni mosques were destroyed and 86 were damaged by grenades, rockets or gunfire. Six others remained in the hands of Shia militiamen, he said.

Yesterday's bomb attack in the Baghdad vegetable market killed at least eight people and wounded 14. Police evacuated the market after finding a second bomb. Another bomb exploded in a minibus travelling through Sadr City, a Shia ghetto in the Baghdad, killing five.

Gunmen also attacked the car of Adnan al-Dulaimi, the senior Sunni cleric who leads the Sunnis' largest parliamentary bloc. One bodyguard was killed. Mr Dulaimi had already sped away in another vehicle.

In the aftermath of the attacks, the government announced a one-day ban on private vehicles in Baghdad and its outskirts.Police and army were instructed to seal off the capital and seize any private vehicles that defy the ban.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
peopleComedian launches stinging attack on PM
Life and Style
The collection displayed Versace’s softer side, with models wearing flowers and chiffon dresses in unusual colourings
fashionVersace haute couture review
News
Andy Murray shakes hands after defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy in the third round of Wimbledon, Saturday 4 July, 2015
Wimbledon
Arts and Entertainment
'The Leaf'
artYes, it's a leaf, but a potentially very expensive one
News
Yoko Ono at the Royal Festival Hall for Double Fantasy Live
people'I wont let him destroy memory of John Lennon or The Beatles'
News
Could Greece leave the EU?
news
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

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'