Simultaneous bomb attacks across Iraq leave 36 dead ahead of weekend elections
Insurgent bomb attacks carried out almost simultaneously across northern and central Iraq killed at least 36 and wounded over 200 people today.
The bombings, almost certainly carried out by al-Qa’ida, are stoking fears that the jihadi organisation, which focuses its attacks on Shia civilians, is becoming stronger because of the rebellion in Syria.
Car bombs exploded across Baghdad at about 9am, killing at least 15 people, mostly passers-by in Shia neighbourhoods. A further six car bombs blew up in and around Kirkuk, the Kurdish-controlled oil city disputed between Kurds, Arabs and Turkoman, killing nine people.
Most of the explosions were of car bombs, but in Sunni Arab Fallujah west of Baghdad, a suicide bomber drove into a police checkpoint, killing two policemen and wounding six others.
The bombings are politically significant because they come a few days before provincial elections on Saturday that will test the popularity of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his party. The well-coordinated attacks by al-Qa’ida are likely to heighten the sense of threat felt by the Shia-majority Iraq, and this might benefit Mr Maliki as protector of the Shia. The Shia community is fearful of a Sunni counter-offensive aimed at ejecting them from power, which they gained after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Al-Qa’ida in Iraq announced last week that it was joining with the powerful al-Nusra Front in Syria to form a single organisation.
The simultaneous timing of the bombs shows the Iraqi security forces’ failure to eliminate al-Qa’ida in Iraq. Iraqi officials say that the group is now receiving weapons and foreign fighters from Syria.
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart bromance continues: X-Men star gushes about 'pussy cat' BFF Patrick Stewart
David Cameron stung by jellyfish: PM hurt after ignoring advice of locals while on holiday
South Korea ferry: Vice principal rescued from sinking ship found hanged
Hollande's affair: Catherine Deneuve and Sophie Marceau in war of words over President's relationship with Julie Gayet
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband kit: Inside North Korea with the the Pyongyang marathon winner
- 1 KFC 'sorry' after lesbian couple are kicked out of Bath restaurant for 'heavy petting'
- 2 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
- 5 PFA Player of the Year: Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard all nominated as Liverpool dominate award shortlist
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...