First Published: 2013-01-22

 

New wave of attacks kills many as Iraq plunges into crisis

 

Series of attacks in, around Baghdad, in northern Iraq kill up to 25 people, wound dozens of others.

 

Middle East Online

By Ali al-Saadi - BAGHDAD

Iraq political crisis undermines fragile security

A wave of attacks in and around Baghdad and in northern Iraq killed 25 people and wounded dozens more on Tuesday, shattering a relative calm after a spate of deadly violence last week.

The unrest comes amid a political crisis that has pitted Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against several of his erstwhile government partners and with more than four weeks of anti-government protests in Sunni majority areas hardening opposition against the Shiite leader's rule.

Tuesday's bloodiest blasts struck an army checkpoint south of Baghdad, a military base north of the capital, and a mostly Shiite neighbourhood in the city's north, security and medical officials said.

No group claimed responsibility, but Sunni militants often launch attacks in a bid to destabilise the government and push Iraq back towards the sectarian violence that blighted it from 2005 to 2008.

"One of my friends was hurt in his head, and another was seriously wounded in his chest," said 41-year-old mechanic Ali Jassim at the site of the Baghdad blast, before angrily shouting: "The politicians are busy with keeping their posts, and we are suffering from these explosions!"

In the bloodiest attack, six people were killed when a car bomb was detonated near an army camp in the town of Taji, 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of Baghdad, an army officer and a medical official said.

At least 20 other people were wounded.

South of the capital in the town of Mahmudiyah, at least five people were killed and 14 wounded by a suicide car bomb, officials said.

Mahmudiyah lies within a confessionally mixed region known as the "Triangle of Death" because of the frequency of attacks during the worst of Iraq's insurgency in the wake of the 2003 US-led invasion.

A car bomb near a market in the north Baghdad neighbourhood of Shuala killed five people and wounded 12, while gunmen killed five officials who were transporting salaries between oil refineries near the town of Baiji.

Pieces of metal were littered across the scene of the Baghdad attack, with several cars badly damaged or completely burned, a journalist said.

The insurgents who carried out the latter attack fled, and the funds were recovered, officials said.

Meanwhile, seven different shootings and bombings in Diyala, Nineveh and Salaheddin provinces north of Baghdad left four people dead and 12 others wounded.

The violence broke four days of relative calm in Iraq following a spate of attacks claimed by Al-Qaeda's front group that left at least 88 people dead on January 15-17, according to a tally.

The militant group is widely seen as weaker than during the peak of Iraq's sectarian bloodshed from 2006 to 2008, but is still capable of carrying out mass-casualty attacks on a regular basis.

The latest wave of violence meant the overall death toll from bloodshed in Iraq this month has already surpassed that of any of the previous three months, according to a tally based on reports from security and medical officials.

Iraq's political crisis has pitted Maliki against several of his ministers who have accused him of authoritarianism and sectarianism just months ahead of provincial elections.

Weeks of anti-government rallies in Sunni Arab majority areas, supported by parties that are members of Maliki's unity cabinet, have increasingly called for the premier to quit.

The violence and political troubles come three months before provincial elections, Iraq's first polls in three years and a key barometer to gauge the popularity of Maliki and his rivals.

Attacks in Iraq are down from their peak in 2006-2007, but they are still common across the country.

 

Iraq launches operation to clear last IS holdouts from desert

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

Outrage in Iraq over 'child marriage' bill

Hezbollah hails PM's suspension of resignation

Syrian opposition aims for unity at talks in Riyadh

Egypt police kill 3 Islamists in shootout

Turkey unsure if Assad to be part of Syria political transition

Migrant arrivals from Libya down since EU deal

Palestinian factions leave Cairo talks with little progress

Sudan’s Bashir looks to Putin for ‘protection’ from US aggression

China, Djibouti forge 'strategic' ties

IS propaganda channels fall quiet in 'unprecedented' hiatus

Kremlin to create Syria congress despite Turkey ‘reservations’

Netanyahu berates deputy minister for 'offensive' remarks on US Jews

Egypt PM heads to Germany for medical treatment

Egypt destroys 10 SUVs carrying arms on Libya border

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number

German police arrest six Syrians ‘planning terror attack’

Palestinian factions in Cairo for reconciliation talks