News / Middle East

    Multiple Baghdad Car Bombs Kill at Least 13

    A man walks near the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad, Feb. 6, 2014.
    A man walks near the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad, Feb. 6, 2014.
    Reuters
    Seven car bombs exploded across Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 13 people in apparently coordinated attacks that targeted mainly Shi'ite Muslim districts, security sources said.

    No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings. But Sunni Islamist militants have been regaining ground in Iraq, particularly in the western province of Anbar where they overran two cities on Jan. 1.

    Since then, more than 1,000 people have been killed across the country, building on a trend of intensifying violence that made last year Iraq's bloodiest since 2008, when sectarian warfare began to abate from its height.

    On Thursday, bombs were detonated in the predominantly Shi'ite neighborhoods of Sadr City, Karrada, Hurriya, Ubaidi and Shaab. Civilians from Iraq's Shi'ite majority are often targeted by Sunni insurgents.

    Another explosion killed three people in the commercial Bab al-Sharqie district, near a bridge across the river Tigris leading to the heavily-fortified “Green Zone”, home to the prime minister's office and several Western embassies.

    In recent days, militants have staged a series of attacks near the Green Zone and outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, heightening concerns about Iraq's ability to protect strategic sites as security deteriorates.

    The city of Falluja is currently surrounded and under shelling from the Iraqi army in preparation for a possible ground assault to end a month-long standoff with Sunni anti-government fighters inside the Anbar city.

    “Many casualties” likely

    The militants include members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - a Sunni group also active in neighboring Syria's civil war.

    “We believe that storming Falluja as soon as possible is much better than the current situation,” a senior security official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “Yes, there will be many casualties, but it's better than this strain on army resources.”

    The official said a ground assault would not be launched until security forces finished battling militants in two small towns that are important entry points to Falluja. Communications have also been cut.

    “The militants have booby-trapped roads, homes, animals and even dead bodies inside Falluja, so we have to keep the communications down as they use mobile signal to blow up these traps,” the official said.

    Maliki has appealed for international support and weapons to fight al-Qaida. But critics say his own policies towards Iraq's once-dominant Sunni community are at least partly to blame for reviving an insurgency that had peaked in 2006-07.

    Some tribes in Sunni-dominated Anbar support or have aligned themselves with ISIL against Maliki's Shi'ite-led government, which they accuse of abuses against their sect.

    Others deplore ISIL's violent tactics and have joined forces with the army to fight the group and its allies in and around Anbar's city of Ramadi, also overrun by militants last month but now largely back under government control.

    The United Nations said it had delivered aid including tents, medicine, water and food parcels to some of the 45,000 families that have been displaced by the conflict in Anbar.

    “The U.N. continues to hold discussions with senior political figures in an attempt to assist in paving the ground for a political solution to the crisis, calling on all to show national unity and address the root causes of violence in Iraq,” U.N. envoy Nikolay Mladenov said in a statement.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.