Iraq: At least 35 killed in series of attacks amid growing political tensions
Iraq experienced a violent day on Thursday with the death of at least 35 people in a wave of bombing attacks. It was the deadliest day since March 20 when Al Qaeda activists conducted a series of attacks, killing 50 and injuring 255.
In a few hours in the morning, over 10 car bombs exploded in six provinces, according to police and medical sources. At least 22 civilians were killed, along with eight policemen, three anti-Qaeda militia members and two soldiers. More than 150 people were injured, according to medical sources.
In Baghdad, 11 people were killed and 62 injured in the attacks.
The boldest attack took place on Haifa Street and targeted the convoy of the Minister of Health, Magid Hamad Amin, who emerged unscathed. But two bystanders were killed and nine people were injured, including four bodyguards of the Minister, sources said. Four car bombs exploded in other districts of the capital leaving nine dead and 53 wounded.
In Taji, 25km further north, six people were killed and 29 wounded in a suicide attack. In Tarmiya, 45km north of Baghdad, an army officer was killed in a suicide attack against his base.
In Baqouba, 96km northeast of the capital, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest in the house of a police lieutenant, killing the officer and injuring four family members, the military reported. Two other policemen were killed by a suicide car bombing attack against their position. On the outskirts of the city, a policeman was shot dead by gunmen, police said.
In the region of Kirkuk, 240km north of Baghdad, six bombs exploded in the village of Malha near the houses of local tribal leaders, killing five people, including an army commander. In addition, six people were injured, police said.
In the city of Kirkuk, a car bomb targeted the convoy of General Taha Salahedinne, killing two policemen and wounding 15. Another car bomb exploded in front of the house of the head of the Investment Commission, killing two policemen and wounding three.
In Samarra, 110km north of Baghdad, three members of the Sahwa anti-Qaeda militia were killed, as well as three civilians in attacks, according to local sources. In Ramadi, 100km west of Baghdad, one person was killed and nine injured, including four policemen, in two car bomb attacks, police said. And in Mosul, 350km north of Baghdad, three people were injured by a bomb planted in a local restaurant.
These attacks occurred amidst a highly tense political climate. Several political parties have accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who took office in 2006, of seeking to impose a new dictatorship in Iraq.
In a statement the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Kurdish Aref Tayfour, stressed that it is "necessary, today, that security forces take more measures and politicians speak with one voice and avoid remarks that increase tensions."
According to senior officials at the Ministry of Interior, the rivalries between the various security services and the contradictory orders they receive hinder the fight against terrorism. While the level of violence has fallen sharply in Iraq from where it stood from 2006 to 2007, insurgent groups, mainly Al-Qaeda, remain active and continue to launch attacks.