Breaking News: Ramadan bomb attacks kill dozens in Iraq

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Breaking News: Ramadan bomb attacks kill dozens in Iraq

Bomb attack in Nasiriya, Iraq, 10 August
The bombs mainly targeted Baghdad, but Nasiriya, 375km to the south, was also hit

Iraq has suffered a wave of bomb attacks as people celebrated the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with more than 50 deaths reported.

Most of the bombs targeted mainly Shia areas of the capital, Baghdad, hitting cafes, markets and restaurants in at least nine different districts.

A bomb also killed at least 10 people in Tuz Khurmato, north of the capital.

It is believed to be one of the deadliest Ramadans in years in Iraq, with more than 670 people killed.

Most of the violence in the past six months has involved Sunni Islamist militant groups targeting Shia Muslim districts.

More than 4,000 people have died in such attacks this year. A further 9,865 have been injured, with Baghdad province the worst hit.

Maliki vowThe capital’s deadliest car bomb attack on Saturday struck in the evening near an outdoor market in the south-eastern suburb of Jisr Diyala, police said, killing seven people and injuring 20.

Correspondents say the areas struck in the capital were both Shia and Sunni districts.

Recent Attacks

  • 12 July Bomb at cafe in Kirkuk kills 38
  • 13 July Bomb attacks near Sunni mosques in Baghdad kill 21
  • 14 July At least 34 killed in bombings in several cities
  • 19 July Twenty killed at a Sunni mosque in central Iraq
  • 20 July Car bombs in Baghdad kill 30
  • 6 August Bomb attacks in and around Baghdad kill at least 41
  • 10 August Bombs in Baghdad and Tuz Khurmato kill at least 50

Among the areas struck were Amil, Abu Dashir, Khazimiyah, Baiyaa, Shaab, Husseiniyah and Dora.

Saif Mousa, the owner of a shoe store in the mainly Shia New Baghdad, said he was sitting in his shop when he heard an explosion outside.

He told the Associated Press news agency: “My shop’s windows were smashed and smoke filled the whole area. I went outside of the shop and I could hardly see because of the smoke. We had a terrible day that was supposed to be nice.”

At least another 10 people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack in Tuz Khurmato, 170km (105 miles) north of Baghdad.

Last week Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki vowed to continue operations against militants, saying: “We will not leave our children to these murderers and those standing behind them and supporting both inside and outside.”

Many Sunnis accuse Mr Maliki’s Shia-led government of marginalising them.

The tensions this year were fuelled in April when Iraqi security forces broke up an anti-government Sunni protest in the city of Hawija, killing and wounding dozens of protesters.

Then last month, hundreds of inmates escaped after gunmen stormed two jails near Baghdad – Abu Ghraib to the west of the capital and Taji to the north.

The spike in violence in Iraq has raised fears of a return to the levels of sectarian killing seen following the US invasion 10 years ago, and has led commentators to discuss once again the prospect of partition along community lines.

The Iraqi government has also faced widespread criticism over corruption and the provision of basic services.

The conflict in neighbouring Syria, itself increasingly taking the form of a Sunni-Shia sectarian conflict, is further straining community relations in Iraq.

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