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
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
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: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat