News / Middle East

Car Bombs Strike Baghdad, Killing Army Recruits

Iraqi security forces stand guard at the site of a bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 12, 2014.
Iraqi security forces stand guard at the site of a bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 12, 2014.
TEXT SIZE - +
Edward Yeranian
— Iraqi police say three bomb explosions killed at least 13 people and wounded several dozen more Sunday in Baghdad.  The most serious blast was at a bus and taxi depot that hit a group of Iraqi Army recruits. 

Fire crews doused blazing vehicles after the latest bombings in the Iraqi capital, during a wave of violence aimed mostly at pro-government and Shi'ite targets.  The most powerful blast Sunday hit the Merab Alawi car park where dozens of army recruits were milling around.

It was the second major blast targeting army recruits in four days. 

Another Sunday explosion, apparently from a car bomb, caused casualties in the Kadhimiyah district of the capital.

The attacks came as Iraqi Army forces continued to shell targets in and around the town of Ramadi, part of which is held by Islamic militants loyal to the pro-al-Qaida group called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.  Pro-government Sunni militiamen are fighting, with army support, to dislodge the militants.

It remains unclear, amid conflicting reports, how much of Ramadi and the second key Anbar town of Fallujah remain in militant hands.  Thousands of residents have fled the violence and humanitarian crises in both towns.

Iraqi state TV reported that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Sunday praised a bill before parliament that formalizes government control over provincial security, because it “poses a threat to national security if provinces have their own militias and armed gangs."

Support for Maliki in Sunni regions of the country, like Anbar Province, remain weak after months of a bitter political tug-of-war with Sunni leaders.  Government security forces stormed a Sunni protest camp in Ramadi last month, and another last spring in the town of Hawija.


A top Sunni cleric in Anbar Province, Sheikh Mahmoud Someidi, warned Sunday that Maliki is making a serious mistake if he thinks he can impose order by using force.

He says the prime minister must treat all Iraqi citizens equally and must not provoke crises to use force, since military means will not work unless a political solution is found.

James Denselow of the London-based Foreign Policy Center says the recent violence across Iraq represents a major test for both the future of the prime minister and the unity of the country.

"We have to remember that all violence in Iraq is political in a system that is seeing politics of the street, rather than through institutions.  So, this is a huge test for both the credibility of Maliki's rule and the durability of the Iraqi state to endure both its offensive operations in Fallujah and sort of an inability to defend its own recruits and people in places like Baghdad,” says Denselow.

Levels of violence in Iraq increased dramatically during 2013, as the political standoff between the Shi'ite prime minister and his Sunni adversaries grew more bitter.  The United Nations reported that casualties from violence last year in Iraq reached the highest levels since 2008.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid