News / Middle East

Bombings Ahead of Iraqi Elections Leave 31 Dead

Iraqi residents gather at the site of a car bomb attack in the Kamaliya district in Baghdad, April 15, 2013.
Iraqi residents gather at the site of a car bomb attack in the Kamaliya district in Baghdad, April 15, 2013.
VOA News
Iraqi officials said at least 31 people died Monday as bombs blew up in the capital and several other cities, leaving more than 200 people wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, which come as Iraqis prepare to vote in provincial elections on Saturday.  The vote is the first in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew from the country in December 2011.

The election has already been postponed by several months in Anbar and Ninevah provinces because of security threats.

Ali Hussein, an eye witness who saw some of Monday's carnage in Baghdad, said, "So many explosions took place. Two car bombs exploded in the area of Riaasa and two others in Kamaliyah. What have those innocent people done to deserve this?"

  • A police officer inspects the aftermath of a car bomb attack at a used car dealer's parking lot in Habibiya, Baghdad, Iraq, April 16, 2013.
  • Men carry the coffin of a victim killed in one of April 15's bomb attacks, during a funeral in Najaf, Iraq.
  • Residents gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad, April 15, 2013.
  • Iraqi security personnel gather around the site of a bomb attack in Baghdad, April 15, 2013.
  • Civilians gather at the scene of a car bomb attack in east Baghdad, April 15, 2013.
  • A member of the Iraqi security forces inspects the site of a car bomb attack in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, April 15, 2013.

In the town of Mussayab, northwest of Baghdad, witnesses were left with questions. One man said, "We were having breakfast when a car that was parked here, in front of the restaurant, exploded." He said some people were injured and many houses were damaged.

"What are we guilty of? We are just trying to earn a living, we just want to get on with our lives," he continued. "How long will we have to suffer? I don't know."

In Kirkuk, also rocked by deadly car bombings Monday, police commander, General Brigadier Anwar Qader expressed frustration.

"This morning a car bomb exploded near the office of a real estate agency, killing and wounding a number of people, we don't have the exact number of casualties yet," he said. "Despite the security measures in place, the terrorists conduct this kind of action and kill innocent people. ''

Iraq's Provincial Elections
 
  • Candidates running for seats in local councils in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces
  • No vote scheduled for Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region
  • 16.2 million registered voters
  • More than 38,000 polling stations
  • Council members elected by proportional representation
  • Certain number of seats reserved for women
  • More than 8,000 candidates running, more than 2,000 are women
 
Source UNAMI
Security remains a big concern for Iraqi officials. On Saturday, members of the police and army cast early ballots so they can provide security when the rest of the country heads to the polls.

There have been a growing number of recent protests by Iraq's Sunni community against the Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.  

Anti-government protests in the mostly Sunni regions of western Iraq are entering their fourth month. Sunni activists want Maliki to step down.

Middle East analyst Jim Phillips with the Heritage Foundation said the onus is on Maliki to lessen tensions.

“The Shi'ite dominated Maliki government has put a premium on a sectarian agenda at the expense of minorities Sunni and some of the Kurdish factions in the north," he said. "And I think Prime Minister Maliki needs to reach out and bring non non-Shia political factions into his government in a more effective way.”

Sunni activists accuse the Shi'ite-led government of arbitrarily arresting Sunni opponents and holding them without charges.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs