Scores killed in attacks on Iraqi Sunnis | Pakistan Today

Scores killed in attacks on Iraqi Sunnis

At least 76 people have been killed in bombings in majority Sunni districts in Baghdad and surrounding areas in the deadliest day in Iraq in more than eight months have officials said.

The spike in violence has raised fears the country could be on the path to a new round of sectarian bloodshed.

Friday’s attacks pushed the three-day Iraqi death toll to 130, including Shias at bus stops and outdoor markets in scenes reminiscent of the retaliatory attacks between the two Islamic branches in 2006-2007 that claimed tens of thousands of lives.

In the deadliest attack on Friday, twin bombings near a Sunni mosque in Baquba, north of Baghdad, killed 41 people and injured dozens.

One bomb exploded as worshippers were departing the Saria mosque while a second went off after people gathered at the scene of the first blast, police said.

Television aired footage of bodies on the ground outside the mosque, pools of blood and the scattered shoes of the victims.

“I was about 30 metres from the first explosion. When the first exploded, I ran to help them, and the second one went off. I saw bodies flying and I had shrapnel in my neck,” said Hashim Munjiz, a college student, at the site.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Baghdad bombings

In Baghdad, a bomb exploded near a shopping centre during evening rush hour in the mainly Sunni neighbourhood of Amariyah, killing at least 12 people and wounding 32.

That was followed by another bomb in a commercial district in Dora, another Sunni neighbourhood, which killed two people and wounded 22, according to officials.

In another attack, a roadside bomb exploded during a Sunni funeral procession in Madain, south of Baghdad, killing eight mourners and wounding 11, police said.

An explosion also struck a cafe in Fallujah, 65km west of Baghdad, killing two people and wounding nine, according to police and hospital officials.

A day earlier, attacks targeted Shias in several locations.

Al Jazeera’s Omar Al Saleh, reporting from Erbil, said the sectarian nature of recent attacks were worrying Iraqis.

“You have attacks on Shia worshippers, you have attacks on Sunni worshippers. It appears that whoever is behind those attacks wants to ignite sectarian strife,” he said.

“It’s an indication that security conditions are really going downhill in this country. There is a huge and growing sense of fear among Iraqis.”

Tensions have been intensifying since Sunnis began protesting against what they say is mistreatment at the hands of the mainly Shia-led government, including random detentions and neglect.

The protests, 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 the country’s north on April 23.

A suicide bomber on Thursday killed 12 people at the entrance of Al-Zahraa Husseiniyah, a Shia place of worship in the city of Kirkuk, where relatives of victims from violence on Wednesday were receiving condolences.

Car bombs also hit three Shia-majority areas of Baghdad on Thursday, killing 10 people.



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