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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
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 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 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 US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
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.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs