News / Middle East

Iraq Violence Claims 17

x
Reuters
At least 17 people, most of them Shi'ite Muslims, were killed in a wave of bombings and shootings across Iraq on Saturday ahead of a major Shi'ite ritual, medical and police sources said.  

The deadliest of the attacks took place in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Bayaa when a car bomb blew up near a gathering of Shi'ite pilgrims, killing seven people and wounding another 16, police and medics said.  

Three people were killed and 10 wounded in a mainly Shi'ite district on the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad when a roadside bomb exploded in a vegetable market, police said.  

In the district of Husseiniya, a bomb left inside a restaurant killed two people and wounded another five, police said.  

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, which came a few days before Arbae'en, a holy ritual in which Shi'ites commemorate the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Mohammad.  

Iraqi security services have been on high alert since last week as they expect more attacks targeting Shi'ite communities in the coming days. Shi'ites are considered apostates by hardline Sunni Islamist insurgents who have been regaining momentum in Iraq this year.

On Friday, masked gunmen killed 18 people, most of them Iranians, working on a gas pipeline outside the northeastern Iraqi town of Muqdadiya.

In other violence on Saturday, gunmen ambushed a military vehicle and shot dead three soldiers in western Tikrit, 150 km (95 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. Two more soldiers were shot dead when gunmen opened fire at a checkpoint east of the Iraqi capital.  

Iraqi authorities blame al Qaeda for the rise in violence in the country, saying it is trying to destabilize the Shi'ite-led government and foment intercommunal conflict.   Insurgent attacks in Iraq have risen since the start of the year, with hundreds killed each month.

The growing violence has raised fears of a return to the heights of bloodshed seen in 2006-7, when tens of thousands died.  

Iraq's sectarian balance has come under further pressure from the civil war in neighboring Syria, where mainly Sunni rebels are fighting to topple a leader backed by Shi'ite Iran.  

So far Shi'ite militias, most of which disarmed in recent years and joined the reconstituted security forces or entered the political process, have largely held their fire. But a worsening Sunni insurgency could prompt Shi'ite militia to again take up arms.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MikeBarnett from: USA
December 15, 2013 3:36 PM
Al Qaeda is a sunni group, and Iraq is two thirds shia. Insurgents try to prove that the government can't protect its people, its primary duty. The rule is that rebels don't win insurgent wars; governments lose them. If the instability becomes widespread and remains long enough, or if the government becomes excessively repressive in its tactics, the insurgents may gain support from the majority of the people and win control of the country.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid