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violence in iraq

At least 54 people have been killed and many others injured in a series of car bomb attacks in Iraqi cities Baghdad, Basra and Samarra, officials say.

Baghdad was worst hit, with nine explosions at bus stations and markets in the mainly Shia Muslim districts.

Two bombs went off earlier in the day in the southern city of Basra, and a blast in Samarra killed three people.

The attacks are part of the recent rise in violence in Iraq linked to growing political and sectarian tension.

Police said nearly 200 people were injured in Monday’s violence in Iraq. Eight Iranian pilgrims are reported to be among the dead.


One of the bloodiest attacks in Baghdad happened in the northern Shia neighborhood of Shaab, when a car bomb exploded near a crowded market place killing at least 12 people and wounding more than 20.

The bombs in Basra, a mainly Shia Muslim city, killed at least 14 outside a restaurant and the main bus station.

“We were sitting here waiting for work and as usual we gathered near a street food cart and the place was very crowded,” Basra resident Mohammed Ali, who was near one of the blasts, told Reuters news agency.

“I crossed the street to the other side when all of a sudden it turned dark, dust filled the area. I was showered with metal wreckage and wounded in my legs.”

At least 54 people have been killed and many others injured in a series of car bomb attacks in Iraqi cities Baghdad, Basra and Samarra

At least 54 people have been killed and many others injured in a series of car bomb attacks in Iraqi cities Baghdad, Basra and Samarra

A further three people were killed and 15 wounded in a car bomb attack in Samarra, a city some 70 miles north of Baghdad. The blast reportedly happened near a gathering of members of the pro-government Sunni militia, the Awakening Council.

In a separate incident, 10 policemen kidnapped on Saturday in western Anbar province have been found dead.

No group has said it carried out Monday’s bomb attacks, but tension between the Shia Muslim majority, which leads the government, and minority Sunnis has been growing since last year.

Sunni demonstrators have accused the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of discriminating against them – something the government denies.

Iraqis have not witnessed violence on the scale of the last few weeks for nearly five years.

The Shia-Sunni fault line, with Syria currently at its epicentre, is certainly contributing.

But Iraqis do not see their own politicians doing enough to unite people on both sides of the sectarian divide, and they do not see the international community showing the urgency they think it should in averting further chaos.

Violence has increased since more than 50 people died in clashes between security forces and Sunni Arabs in April, when an anti-government protest camp was raided in Nawija near Kirkuk.

At least 60 people died in three bombings in Sunni Muslim areas in and around Baghdad on Friday. Those bombings followed deadly attacks on Shia targets across Iraq.

On Sunday, at least 10 policemen were reported killed in north-western Iraq in attacks blamed by the authorities on Sunni militants.

Basra had been seen as relatively peaceful, but there too, violence has risen in recent months.

In March, a car bomb in the city killed 10 and wounded many others. On Saturday gunmen there shot and killed a Sunni Muslim cleric.

The increasing number of incidents has raised fears that Iraq could return to the worst of the sectarian conflict seen in 2006 and 2007.

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At least 30 people have been killed after gunmen and a suicide bomber attacked a police headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, police say.

A city official told AFP news agency that militants had tried to seize the compound but were unsuccessful.

No group has said it carried out the attack.

Kirkuk is ethnically mixed, and at the centre of a dispute between the Iraqi government and Kurds over oil and land rights.

Two weeks ago at least 10 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack on the offices of the Kurdish Democratic Party in the city.

Sunni insurgents linked to al-Qaeda have been blamed for much of the recent violence in Iraq.

However, there has been a relative calm in recent days.

At least 30 people have been killed after gunmen and a suicide bomber attacked a police headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk

At least 30 people have been killed after gunmen and a suicide bomber attacked a police headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk

The attack took place during morning rush hour in the centre of Kirkuk, police Brig-Gen Natah Mohammed Sabr told AFP.

At least 70 people were injured as militants reportedly dressed in police uniforms and armed with guns, grenades and suicide vests rushed the main gate of the headquarters after a bomb was detonated.

They threw grenades but were killed before they reached the building of the headquarters.

The attack caused massive damage to nearby buildings, Brig-Gen Sabr added.

Traffic in the city centre was stopped, and offices in the area were evacuated.

With its massive oil reserves, Kirkuk is the most bitterly contested of Iraq’s disputed territories.

It houses a mixture of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen.

The Kurds want to incorporate it into their largely autonomous region, while Arabs and Turkmen oppose any change to its current status, ruled directly from Baghdad.

Correspondents say militants often exploit differences between the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces by launching deadly attacks in the city.

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Iraq’s fugitive vice-president Tariq al-Hashemi has been sentenced to death in absentia after a court found him guilty of running death squads.

The court ruling came as at least 45 people were killed in a wave of about 24 attacks across Iraq.

Tariq al-Hashemi was the most senior Sunni Muslim in the predominantly Shia Iraqi government until he was charged last December and went on the run.

The charges against him sparked a political crisis in Iraq.

Iraq's fugitive vice-president Tariq al-Hashemi has been sentenced to death in absentia after a court found him guilty of running death squads

Iraq's fugitive vice-president Tariq al-Hashemi has been sentenced to death in absentia after a court found him guilty of running death squads

Other Sunni politicians denounced Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki – who issued the warrant for Tariq al-Hashemi – as a dictator, accusing him of deliberate provocation that risked plunging the country back into sectarian conflict.

Correspondents say the fragile government coalition between Sunnis, secularists and Shia has seemed in danger of collapse ever since.

Sunni insurgents linked to al-Qaeda have been blamed for much of the recent violence in Iraq.

The Iraqi government issued the warrant for Tariq al-Hashemi’s arrest on 19 December 2011, the day after the last US troops left the country.

He fled first to the largely autonomous Kurdish north of the country, and from there to Qatar and on to Turkey.

Prosecutors said Tariq al-Hashemi was involved in 150 killings. During his trial in absentia in Baghdad, some of his former bodyguards said Tariq al-Hashemi had ordered murders.

He says the charges against him are politically motivated and has accused PM Nouri al-Maliki of fuelling sectarianism.

On Sunday, an Iraqi court found Tariq al-Hashemi and his son-in-law guilty of two murders and sentenced him to death by hanging. The judge dismissed a third charge for lack of evidence.

Although violence has decreased since its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks have escalated again after the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq at the end of last year, amid increasing political and sectarian tensions.

The Iraqi government has been hampered by divisions between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish political groups.

The Iraqi government said July 2012 was the deadliest month in nearly two years, with 325 people killed.

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was a Sunni, and many Sunnis believe they are being penalized by Shias, who have grown in influence since the US invasion.

Sunnis have accused Nouri al-Maliki of taking an authoritarian approach to government.

 

Serial bomb attacks in six Iraqi provinces, including 10 locations in Baghdad, has killed 62 people and wounded dozens more, Iraqi police say.

Many of the dead in the Iraqi capital were Shia pilgrims gathering for a religious festival.

In Hilla, two car bombs exploded near a restaurant, killing at least 15 people.

There has been a wave of attacks on the Shia community in recent days, as it marks the anniversary of the death of Shia imam Moussa al-Kadhim.

Four people were killed in a mortar attack near a religious shrine in Baghdad on Sunday.

Serial bomb attacks in six Iraqi provinces, including 10 locations in Baghdad, has killed 62 people and wounded dozens more

Serial bomb attacks in six Iraqi provinces, including 10 locations in Baghdad, has killed 62 people and wounded dozens more

Iraq’s interior ministry said following that attack that there would be heightened security across the city as they anticipated further violence.

Pictures from Hilla on Wednesday showed the mangled remains of a restaurant, damaged cars and roads strewn with debris.

Police and fire crews were clearing the scene.

Violence in Iraq has fallen since the sectarian killings of a few years ago, but militants still frequently attack security forces and civilians.

Shia targets have come under renewed attack since the government of Shia Prime Minister Nouri Maliki moved against senior members of the predominantly Sunni Iraqiya political bloc.