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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs