SOLYMONE BLOG

CAR BOMBS KILLED NEARLY 70 PEOPLE IN IRAQI CITIES

BAGHDAD, Iraq - At least 68 people have been killed and 195 injured in a series of car bombs across Iraqi cities, police and medics say.
pushing the death toll over the past week to more than 200 and extending one of the most sustained bouts of sectarian violence the country has seen in years.
The bloodshed is still far shy of the pace, scale and brutality of the dark days of 2006-2007, when armed groups carried out retaliatory attacks against each other in a cycle of violence that left the country awash in blood. 
Still, Monday's attacks, some of which hit markets and crowded bus stops during the morning rush hour, have heightened fears that the country could be turning back down the path toward civil war.
Sectarian tensions have been worsening since Iraq's minority Sunnis began protesting what they say is mistreatment at the hands of the Shia-led government. 
  • The mass demonstrations, which began in December, have largely been peaceful, but the number of attacks rose sharply after a deadly security crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in northern Iraq on April 23.
  • Iraq's Shia majority, which was oppressed under the late dictator Saddam Hussein, now holds the levers of power in the country. Wishing to rebuild the nation rather than revert to open warfare, they have largely restrained their armed groups over the past five years or so as Sunni extremist groups such as al-Qaeda have targeted them with occasional large-scale attacks.
  • But the renewed violence in both Shia and Sunni areas since late last month has fuelled concerns of a return to sectarian warfare.
The worst of Monday's violence took place in Baghdad, where ten car bombs ripped through open-air markets and other areas of Shia neighbourhoods, killing at least 47 people and wounding more than 150, police officials said.
In the bloodiest attack, a parked car bomb blew up in a busy market in the northern Shia neighbourhood of Shaab, killing 14 and wounding 24, police and health officials said.
The surge in bloodshed has exasperated Iraqis, who have lived for years with the fear and uncertainty bred of random violence.

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