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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid