Blasts hit Shi'ite districts in Baghdad, killing 28

BAGHDAD Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:27pm IST

1 of 2. Residents gather at the site of a car bomb attack in the Karrakda district in Baghdad February 17, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ahmed Malik

Related Topics

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Eight car bombs exploded in Shi'ite Muslim neighbourhoods across Iraq's capital Baghdad on Sunday morning, killing at least 28 people in blasts that tore into shops, restaurants and busy commercial streets.

No-one claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Sunni Muslim insurgents have stepped up their activity since the beginning of the year in a bid to undermine the Shi'ite-led government and trigger deeper intercommunal fighting.

One blast tore off shop fronts in Qaiyara district while another left the remains of a car and its twisted engine littered across a high street in the busy, commercial Karrada district packed with restaurants and shops.

"I was buying an air conditioner and suddenly there was an explosion. I threw myself on the ground. Minutes later I saw many people around, some of them dead, others wounded," said salesman Jumaa Kareem, his jacket spattered with blood in Habibiya district, which was also hit.

Sunday's blasts followed the assassination of a senior Iraqi army intelligence officer on Saturday, the latest in a wave of suicide bombings since January that indicate insurgent determination to stoke sectarian tensions.

Graphic on attacks - link.reuters.com/xap95t

SUNNIS FEEL MARGINALISED

Violence in Iraq is increasing just as political tensions are rising against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's power-sharing government made up of Shi'ite, Sunni and ethnic Kurds who split posts among them.

Thousands of Sunni Muslim protesters have rallied daily since late December in western provinces against what they see as the marginalisation of their minority sect, and calling for Maliki to step down.

Many Iraq Sunnis feel they have been sidelined and unfairly targeted by security forces since the fall of Saddam Hussein and the rise of the country's Shi'ite majority through the ballot box after the U.S.-led invasion.

The country's fragile power-sharing government has been paralysed by political infighting since the last American troops, who invaded the OPEC country to oust Saddam in 2003, withdrew more than a year ago.

Maliki has offered concessions to Sunni protesters, but the Shi'ite premier has warned against allowing insurgents and hardline Islamists to hijack the demonstrations.

Violence in Iraq is still far from the sectarian bloodletting that killed tens of thousands in 2006-2007, though insurgents have carried out at least one big attack a month since the last U.S. troops left.

More than 10 suicide attackers have struck security forces, Shi'ite targets and a Sunni lawmaker since the start of January.

In the most recent attacks, a suicide bomber killed the head of the army's intelligence school on Saturday after storming his home in a northern town. Another suicide bomber killed 26 at a Shi'ite funeral at the start of the month.

Iraqi Shi'ite leaders fear the war in neighbouring Syria - where Sunni rebels are fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Shi'ite Iran - could further destabilise Iraq's delicate sectarian and ethnic balance.

(Additional reporting by Suadad al-Salhy; writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Jason Webb)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
GKafantaris wrote:
The one that has the most power to stop the cycle of revenge is the one who has been wronged last and whose turn it is to act. He could use his turn and continue the cycle or he can forego it — both now and the next time until it stops. Such is the wisdom and utility of turning the other cheek that nobody thought of before Christ.
It is wrong for Muslims to kill Muslims. They should figure out a way to stop the sectarian killings — even if means resorting to the ideas of Christ to do so.

Feb 17, 2013 8:53pm IST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Earnings Season

Earnings Season

Reliance Q4 sales rise, refining margin narrows.  Read 

Innovative Solution

Innovative Solution

Turning smog into jewels - a Dutch designer's solution to Beijing's pollution.  Video 

Insider Trading

Insider Trading

Rajaratnam's brother loses bid to dismiss insider trading charges.  Full Article 

Literary Giant Dies

Literary Giant Dies

Mourning and memories in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's languid hometown.  Full Article 

S&P on India

S&P on India

S&P: India's ratings to depend on next govt econ, fiscal policies.  Full Article 

Ambitious Aim

Ambitious Aim

In green car race, Toyota adds muscle with fuel-cell launch.  Full Article 

Bond Market

Bond Market

A star abroad, RBI boss riles bond traders at home  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage