Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Macron Economics'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Macron-economics, the former banker turned minister

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The capital of sex, drugs, alcohol, trash and trashy tourism'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

French government crisis: 'Krankreich' not Frankreich

Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Liberia sacks ministers who left amid Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • American 'Islamic State fighter' killed in Syria

    Read more

  • The ‘war’ at the heart of France’s ruling party

    Read more

  • Burger King to buy Canada's Tim Hortons for $11 billion

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

  • WHO seeks stricter regulation for e-cigarettes

    Read more

Middle east

Bombs hit Baghdad on anniversary of US invasion

© France24

Video by Kethevane GORJESTANI

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-03-19

A series of car bombs and blasts across Shiite areas of Baghdad killed at least 56 people and wounded more than 200 on Tuesday morning, Iraqi officials said. The attacks come a decade after the US-led invasion on March 20, 2003.

A wave of bombings tore through Baghdad on Tuesday morning, killing at least 56 people in a spasm of violence on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion.

The attacks show how dangerous and unstable Iraq remains a decade after the war - a country where sectarian violence can explode at any time. And though attacks have ebbed since the peak of the insurgency in 2006 and 2007, tensions simmer and militants remain a potent threat to Iraq’s security forces.

Tuesday’s attacks were mostly by car bombs and targeted mainly Shiite areas, small restaurants, day laborers and bus stops in the Iraqi capital and nearby towns over a span of more than two hours.

Along with 56 killed, over 200 people were wounded in the attacks, officials said.

The bombings came 10 years to the day that Washington announced the start of the invasion on March 19, 2003 - though by that time it was already the following morning in Iraq.

Also on Tuesday, Iraq’s Cabinet decided to postpone upcoming provincial elections in two provinces dominated by the country’s minority Sunnis for up to six months. The decision followed requests from the political blocs in the provinces, according to the prime minister’s spokesman, Ali al-Moussawi.

The two provinces affected, Anbar and Ninevah, have been at the center of the nearly three-month-long protests against Iraq’s Shiite-led government. Provincial elections were scheduled for April 20.

One of the deadliest of Tuesday’s attacks struck close to one of the main gates to the heavily-fortified Green Zone, which houses major government offices and the embassies of several countries, including the United States and Britain. That blast outside a restaurant killed six people, including two soldiers, and wounded more than 15. Thick black smoke could be seen rising from the area as ambulances raced to the scene.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts, but the attacks bore hallmarks of al-Qaida in Iraq. The terror group favors spectacular, coordinated bombings intended to undermine public confidence in the Shiite-led government.

Police and hospital officials who provided accounts of the days’ bloodshed reported the most casualties from a car bombing near the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Baghdad’s eastern Qahira neighborhood at around 10 a.m. That blast killed seven people and wounded 21.

The officials provide casualty numbers on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information to journalists.

The violence started at around 8 a.m., when a bomb exploded outside a popular restaurant in Baghdad’s Mashtal neighborhood, killing four people and wounding 15. It blew out the eatery’s windows and left several cars mangled in the blood-streaked street.

Minutes later, two day laborers were killed and eight were wounded when a roadside bomb hit the place where they gather every day in an area of New Baghdad.

In the poor Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City, a bomb stuck to the underside of a minibus killed three commuters and wounded seven people. Another car bomb exploded in a commercial street in the same area, killing two people and wounding 11, and yet another bomb struck a police patrol in the neighborhood, killing five people and wounding 13.

Hussein Abdul-Khaliq, a government employee who lives in Sadr city, said he heard the explosion and went out to find the minibus on fire.

“We helped take some trapped women and children from outside the burning bus before the arrival of the rescue teams. Our clothes were covered with blood as we tried to rescue the trapped people or to move out the bodies,” he said.

“Today’s attacks are new proof that the politicians and security officials are a huge failure,” he said.

Other attacks struck the largely Shiite neighborhoods of Hussainiyah, Zafarniyah, Shula and Utaifiya, as well as the Sunni district of Tarmiyah.

Just outside the capital, a mortar shell landed near a clinic in the town of Taji, killing two people and wounding five. And about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Baghdad, in Iskandiriyah, a car bomb exploded near a bus stop, killing five people and wounding 20.

Tuesday’s attacks came a day after insurgents killed nine people, including a bombing by a suicide attacker who killed five when he drove an explosives-laden car into a checkpoint in the central Iraqi town of Balad Ruz.

Al-Qaida’s Iraq arm, which operates under the name the Islamic State of Iraq, has sought to reassert its presence in recent weeks.

Last week, the group claimed responsibility for a highly coordinated attack earlier this month in far western Iraq that killed nine Iraqis and 51 Syrian soldiers who had sought temporary refuge in the country.

And on Sunday, al-Qaida’s Iraq branch took responsibility for a brazen and again highly coordinated raid on the Justice Ministry in downtown Baghdad last week. The attack, involving car bombs and gunmen disguised as police, killed at least 24 people.

(AP)

Date created : 2013-03-19

  • UK - IRAQ

    Ten years on, Blair says Iraq invasion was right decision

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Car bombs target Shiite neighbourhoods in Baghdad

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Suicide bomber kills senior Iraqi intelligence officer

    Read more

COMMENT(S)