Two bombs near a mosque north of Baghdad killed 38 people and wounded 55 on Friday, police and a doctor said.
One bomb exploded as worshippers were departing the Saria mosque in the city of Baquba while a second detonated after people gathered at the scene of the first blast, the sources said.
The bombings are the latest in a series of attacks that have targeted both Sunni and Shia places of worship in past weeks.
On Thursday, a suicide bomber killed 12 people at the entrance of al-Zahraa Husseiniyah in the city of Kirkuk, where relatives of victims from violence the day before were receiving condolences.
Car bombs also hit three areas of Baghdad on Thursday, killing 10 people, while 21 people died in a series of bombings in the capital the day before.
Gunmen also shot dead the brother of an MP in Baghdad on Thursday.
Two car bombs exploded in Iraq’s capital Thursday morning, killing at least 12 civilians and wounding 30, officials said.
Baghdad police said the first blast struck a bus and taxi stop around rush hour in the eastern Sadr City neighborhood. Among the five killed was a 7-year old child, and 16 people were wounded, two officers said.
Another car bomb hit a small market at a taxi stop in the eastern suburb of Kamaliya, killing three civilians and wounding 14 others, they said.
A medical official in a nearby hospital confirmed the casuality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media.
The attack followed a wave of bombings Wednesday that struck seven different areas of Baghdad, killing at least 33 people. Seven of them died in Sadr City.
[…] Violence in Iraq has fallen from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common, killing more than 200 people in each of the first four months of this year.
Kurdish rebels began withdrawing from Turkey into their stronghold in northern Iraq on Wednesday, a major step towards ending a decades-long conflict that has left tens of thousands of people dead.
The pullout is the first visible sign that months of fragile talks between the state and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) could succeed in ending 29 years of guerrilla war.
“We know that they have started moving,” Selahattin Demirtas, a pro-Kurdish lawmaker actively involved in the process, told AFP.
About 2,000 rebel fighters are expected to begin leaving Turkey on foot, traveling through the mountainous border zone to reach their safe havens in the inhospitable Qandil mountains in northern Iraq.
There they will join another 5,000 fellow militants at the command base which has been used as a springboard for attacks against Turkish security forces.
The withdrawals are expected to take three to four months, with several media outlets reporting that the rebels have been on the move for weeks and that May 8 is a “symbolic” date of departure.
On Tuesday, the rebels said they would not renege on their promise to withdraw following an order from their jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Additional news (and signs of future tensions in oil-rich northern Iraq):
[…] The unacknowledged truth behind the past decade of bloodletting in Iraq is that the country itself effectively ceased to exist after the 2003 US invasion. The northern province of Iraqi Kurdistan is today an independent country in all but name and is increasingly moving towards formal recognition of this fact - while Sunni and Shia Iraqis have come to see themselves more as distinct entities than as part of a cohesive nation. Iraqi Sunnis, a once-empowered minority, have taken up arms in recent months against the Shia-dominated government of Nouri al-Maliki and have staked their terms in a manner which acknowledges the irredeemable nature of a continued Iraqi state. In the words of Sunni cleric Mohammad Taha at a rally in Samarra:
“Al-Maliki has brought the country to the abyss… this leaves us with two options: Either civil war or the formation of our own autonomous region.”
There is evidence to suggest that this state of affairs was not an unintended consequence of the 2003 invasion. The American architects of the Iraq War - while couching their justifications for war in the rhetoric of liberation - had for years previously openly acknowledged and predicted that an invasion would result in the death of Iraq as a cohesive state. In a follow-up to their 1996 policy paper”A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” - a report published by leading neoconservative intellectuals, including Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, which advocated a radical reshaping of the Middle East using American military power - the report’s authors acknowledged the inevitability of Iraq’s demise post-invasion.
Predicting that after violently deposing the country’s government: “[Iraq]… would be ripped apart by the politics of warlords, thieves, clans, sects and key families” - the same individuals would nonetheless become the leading advocates of just such an invasion. The post-invasion decisions by the occupying authority to dissolve the army, patronise sectarian militias and death squads and destroy Iraq’s civilian infrastructure viewed in this light are far more comprehensible. The chaos which has enveloped the country since 2003 has not been an unintended consequence, but rather the one which was predicted years earlier by the war’s architects and then perfectly executed. Today the partition of Iraq is mapped out by American think-tanks seeking put a final end to that country and divide it into its contingent ethnic and religious parts. [READ]
The Sykes-Picot Agreement - which divided the Ottoman Empire after World War I and created the Middle East as we know it - is today violently breaking apart in front of the eyes of the world. The countries of Syria and Iraq; formerly unified Arab states formed after the defeat of their former Ottoman rulers, exist today only in name. In their place what appears most likely to come into existence - after the bloodshed subsides - are small, ethnically and religiously homogenous statelets: weak and easily manipulated, where their progenitors at their peaks were robustly independent powers. … Such states, divided upon sectarian lines, would be politically pliable, isolated and enfeebled, and thus utterly incapable of offering a meaningful defence against foreign interventionism in the region. Given the implications for the Middle East, where overt foreign aggression has been a consistent theme for decades, there is reason to believe that this state of affairs has been consciously engineered.
Iraq, Syria and the death of the modern Middle East | Murtaza Hussain
Obviously I have no idea whether any chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and if they have who’s responsible. But this is a good time to remember that, even beyond the bogus case for the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. government has a long history of lying about this subject.
This is from last week:In a letter to key lawmakers, the White House said U.S. intelligence agencies “assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin.”
Now Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN Commission on Syria, says they have “strong, concrete suspicions” that chemical weapons were used in Syria, but that they were deployed not by the Assad regime but by Syrian rebels. (Del Ponte was the lead prosecutor of Slobodan Milošević; earlier she barely escaped assassination when Sicilian organized crime attempted to blow up her house with 1000 pounds of explosives.)
And this is from March 1988, about Saddam Hussein’s notorious gassing of the Iraqi city of Halabja back when Saddam was our ally:The U.S. State Department said both Iran and Iraq had used poison gas in the fighting around Halabja and called on both nations to desist immediately.
“This incident appears to be a particularly grave violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol banning chemical weapons. There are indications that Iran may also have used chemical artillery shells in this fighting,” department spokesman Charles Redman said in Washington.
He declined, however, to say what evidence the United States had to implicate the Iranians.
Seventeen years later, investigative reporter Joost Hiltermann wrote about declassified State Department cables instructing U.S. diplomats to muddy the water by claiming that both Iraq and Iran had used chemical weapons around Halabja and “to dodge the ‘What’s the evidence’ question with the stock ‘Sorry, but that’s classified information’ response…In the final analysis, the only evidence for the convenient claim that Iran used chemical weapons during the war is that the US government said so.”
More recently, a senior U.S. official explained the general principle about this kind of thing: “The countries that cooperate with us get at least a free pass. Whereas other countries that don’t cooperate, we ream them as best we can.”
P.S. Charles Redman, the Reagan State Department spokesman who lied about Iran using chemical weapons in 1988, was later rewarded by Bill Clinton with the Ambassadorship to Germany. He then cashed in by becoming a senior vice presidential at Bechtel. Thanks to Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks you can read here about Redman flying to Tripoli to try to get Bechtel into business with the Qadhafi family.
At least 15 people were killed in a series of bomb blasts across Iraq on Wednesday, police and medics said, following a sharp increase in violence that has prompted warnings of a full-blown conflict.
A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest detonated himself in the midst of a group of government-backed fighters who were collecting their salaries east of the city of Falluja, killing six, police sources said.
In Baiji, 180 kilometers north of Baghdad, police said a roadside bomb killed four policemen. A car bomb in north-eastern Baghdad killed at least three people and wounded 14, police and hospital sources said. Another car bomb north of the city of Ramadi killed two policemen and wounded another 10. [++]
Five car bombs exploded Monday in cities in central and southern Iraq, killing 36 civilians and wounding dozens, officials said.
The attacks come amid a week-long spike in violence following clashes at a protest camp in the north of the country that left more than 200 people dead.
A police officer says two parked car bombs went off simultaneously Monday morning in the city of Amarah near a gathering of constructor workers and a market, killing 18 civilians and wounding 42 others. Amarah is located 320 kilometers southeast of Baghdad.
Another police officer said a parked car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the city of Diwaniyah, killing nine civilians and wounding 23 others. The city is located 130 kilometers south of Baghdad.
Hours later, another parked car bomb went off in the city of Karbala, killing three civilians and wounding 14 others, police said. The city is about 90 kilometers south of Baghdad.
A parked car bomb ripped through the town of Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometers south of Baghdad, killing six and wounding 16, another police said.
Four medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information. [++]
After three days of unrest in the north, bomb attacks in Baghdad took center stage. At least 38 Iraqis were killed and 109 more were wounded in those and other attacks across the country. However, because several locations did not provide any figures, the true tally could be much higher.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of protesters came out after Friday prayers in Anbar province to continue their weeklydemonstrations against the Shi’ite-led government. The U.N. envoy to Iraq, Martin Kobler, called for restraint on all sides, but Sunni clerics encouraged a continuation to anti-government attitudes. The Unified Council of Iraqi Tribes, however, held an emergency meeting and denounced the violence.
Security forces were allowed back into Suleiman Bek after tribal leaders convinced insurgents to hand over the town.
In Baghdad, attacks mostly targeted Sunnis. A bomb outside a Sunni mosque killed nine people and wounded 42 more. One person was killed and six were wounded in a blast in Rashidiyaa few minutes later. Bombs outside mosques in Shabb left two dead and six wounded. Seven people were wounded in a bombing in Doura.
Soldiers denied executing five people who were brought to a morgue in Tuz Khormato.
An I.E.D. killed four soldiers and wounded a fifth one inMahmoudiya.
Gunmen killed five people near Tikrit.
A bomb outside a tailor shop in Wadi Hajar wounded 12 people.
An I.E.D. in Saidiya wounded one person.
Clashes broke out in Haditha and Kubaisa.
least 2654 people [see below] were killed on Tuesday when Iraqi forces and protesters clashed after troops raided their anti-government demonstration camp near Kirkuk, military sources said.
The exchange of gunfire left six troops and 20 protesters dead during a confused raid on the camp in the town of Hawija, at least three military sources in the area told Reuters.
The ministry of defense said in a statement that troops responded after coming under fire from gunmen in the camp, without giving casualty figures.
One of the officers, a brigadier general from the division responsible for the area, told AFP the operation was aimed at Sunni militants from a group known as the Naqshbandiya Army, and that security forces only opened fire after they were fired upon.
But demonstrators said protesters were unarmed when troops opened fire.
A second officer told AFP that 34 Kalashnikov assault rifles and four PKM machine guns were recovered at the scene.
Protesters have taken to the streets in Sunni-majority areas for more than four months, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and decrying the alleged targeting of their minority community by the Shia-led authorities.
And today: Clashes continue in Iraq, 19 killed
At least 19 people were killed Wednesday in Iraq after clashes erupted between security forces and gunmen after forces began firing at a protest the day prior.
The attacks Wednesday killed 12 security personnel, launched apparently in revenge for the deadly clashes on Tuesday at an anti-government protest in a demonstration camp near Kirkuk.
The violence also wounded 194 in the protest-related unrest, officials said Wednesday.
In the deadliest fighting, gunmen killed five soldiers and wounded five more in the Suleiman Bek area north of Baghdad, a high-ranking army officer and an administrative official said.
Gunmen also attacked a Sahwa anti-Qaeda militia checkpoint in Khales, northeast of Baghdad, killing four of the militiamen and wounding a fifth, a police lieutenant colonel and a doctor said.
Other gunmen wounded a policeman in the northern city of Mosul, Three of the gunmen were killed in an attack in the northern city of Mosul, while a soldier was wounded in another shooting to its south, police and a doctor said.
A car bomb against a police patrol killed two police officers and a civilian, and wounded at least seven other people in Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, an interior ministry official and a medical source said.
In Fallujah, west of Baghdad, a mortar attack targeting the home of a provincial council member wounded a man and two children, although the politician was unharmed, a police captain and a doctor said.
The protesters released two Iraqi soldiers they had seized near Ramadi, west of Baghdad, a protest organizer and a doctor said on Wednesday.
Abdulrazzaq al-Shammari, one of the organizers of the protests near Ramadi, said the two soldiers were turned over to a hospital in the city on Tuesday.
He also said the demonstrators were demanding that Iraqi soldiers withdraw from all cities in Anbar province, where Ramadi is located, and remain in their main bases.
The clashes on Tuesday left 54 people dead and prompted two ministers to quit.
The unrest was the deadliest so far linked to demonstrations that erupted more than four months ago.
BAGHDAD: A late-night bombing at a Baghdad cafe frequented by young men playing billiards and video games killed 27 people on Thursday, just days before Iraq’s first elections since US troops withdrew.
The attack was the single deadliest in the country in a month, and comes amid concerns over the credibility of Saturday’s provincial elections as Iraq grapples with a spike in violence and an ongoing political crisis.
Thursday’s bombing struck at 10:00 pm (1900 GMT) in the mostly-Sunni Amriyah neighbourhood and also wounded more than 50 people, security and medical officials said. Among the dead were at least three children and one woman.