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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
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

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Ashdown Group: IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Ashdown Group: Junior Reports Developer / Application Support Engineer

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Recruitment Genius: Client Support Officer

£10 - £11 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The candidate must be committed, engag...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible