Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Israel ramps up Gaza bombardment

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • 24 killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • Prosecutor says captives were killed for organ harvesting in Kosovo

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fuel fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

Middle east

Suicide bomber hits Shiite funeral in Baghdad

Video by Josh Vardey

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-27

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-filled taxi near a Shiite funeral procession in Baghdad Friday, killing at least 31. Sectarian clashes have worsened since PM Nuri al-Maliki sacked a Sunni politician in December.

REUTERS - A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-filled taxi near a Shi’ite funeral procession in Baghdad on Friday, killing 31 people and bringing the death toll from violence since an Iraqi political crisis erupted in December to more than 400.

The bomber exploded his vehicle near the group of mourners passing by a small market street in the mainly Shi’ite Zaafaraniya neighbourhood in the south of the Iraqi capital, police officials and hospitals said.

The Shi’ite-led government often blames Sunni Islamist insurgents for attacks targetting Shi’ites, saying they are trying to stoke the kind of sectarian slaughter which killed tens of thousands of Iraqis at the peak of the war in 2006-2007.

“I was in the old Zaafaraniya market when a funeral came by and just as it passed, a car bomb exploded,” said Ali Mohsen. “I helped evacuating the dead and injured people, their blood covered the ground.”

The funeral was for a Shi’ite real estate agent who was killed by gunmen in Baghdad a day earlier, police said. The motive for his murder was not clear.

But the suicide car bomber appeared to target the funeral near Zaafaraniya police station, blowing himself up close to shops and the market, said an official at the office of Baghdad security spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi.

Sunni insurgents also often target local government offices and police stations and patrols as a way to show the authorities are unable to provide security.

At least 60 people were wounded in Friday’s attack, officials said.

More than 320 people have been killed in attacks in Iraq since the start of the year alone and nearly 800 more wounded—more than double last year’s figure for violent deaths in January, according to government figures and a Reuters count.

Turmoil in Iraq has wider consequences in a region warily watching neighbouring Syria’s increasingly sectarian crisis, and where Sunni Gulf Arab nations and heavyweight Turkey are trying to counter the influence of Shi’ite Iran.

Violence has eased since the heights of sectarian strife unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein. But Iraqi forces are still battling Sunni insurgents tied to al Qaeda, and rival Shi’ite militias.

Iraq’s current crisis was triggered when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government sought the arrest of a Sunni vice president and asked lawmakers to remove a Sunni deputy prime minister just after the last U.S. troops left Iraq on Dec. 18.

Maliki, a Shi’ite, says his moves against Sunni leaders were legal decisions and not politically motivated. But many Sunnis, already feeling alienated, worry measures are part of a drive by Maliki to consolidate his power at their expense.

The crisis threatens to break apart a fragile power-sharing agreement that splits posts among Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs, but that has been hamstrung by political infighting since it was sealed a year ago.

Date created : 2012-01-27

  • IRAQ

    US Marine agrees to lesser charge in Haditha killings

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Suicide bomber kills scores of shiite pilgrims in Iraq

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Shiite pilgrims killed in new attacks across Iraq

    Read more

COMMENT(S)