Thursday: Two suicide bombs kill at least 75 people in Iraq

Two suicide bombings in separate parts of Iraq yesterday killed at least 75 people, most of them Iranian pilgrims and refugees fleeing earlier sectarian attacks. The killings underlined the continuing violence in Iraq, with the departure of US troops from its city centres little more than a month away.

Just after the explosions, the Baghdad government said it had arrested Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the head of al-Qa'ida in Iraq, which is believed to be behind most of the sectarian bombings. His detention would be a success for the Iraqi authorities but previous claims that he had been caught turned out to be untrue.

The most devastating bombing took place at Muqdadiya, 50 miles north-east of Baghdad in Diyala province, which has been the scene of mass killings by Shia, Sunni and Kurds. The bomber blew himself up among a group of Iranian pilgrims who had come to see Shia holy sites in Iraq and were having lunch in a packed restaurant. Police said 47 people died, all but two of them Iranians, and 67 were injured. It was the worst single attack in Iraq this year, although they have become more frequent in recent months.

Abdulnasir al-Muntasirbillah, who was spending his first day in office as Diyala's governor yesterday, said: "I just left the hospital of Baquba. The scenes there are catastrophic. Words cannot express it. It is a dirty, cowardly terrorist act."

A second suicide bomber in Baghdad also chose a soft target, blowing herself up among refugees who had been driven from their homes by sectarian killings. Police said 28 people were killed and 50 wounded as officers distributed aid.

The attacks probably have less to do with the departure of US troops than with al-Qa'ida wanting to show it is still in business. It clearly has enough volunteer suicide bombers, explosives, safe houses and intelligence on targets to continue its present campaign.

At the same time, it is almost impossible for Iraqi security forces to protect crowds of civilians, however many checkpoints they set up.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Recruitment Genius: Digital Trade Advisers - Yorkshire and Humber

£29500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company in Yorkshire and t...

Recruitment Genius: Project and Resource Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing experience-led technology co...

Recruitment Genius: Production Scientist

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises in the...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Manager - Food

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable