Three separate car bombings claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group killed at least 80 people across Baghdad on Wednesday, officials and police sources said.
The first bombing targeted a market area in the Shiite area of Sadr City, killing at least 64 people. The blast was the single deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital this year and comes as the government is locked in a political crisis that some have warned could undermine the fight against the Islamic State group.
In separate attacks later in the day, two car bombs killed at least 22 other civilians, police sources said.
One blast hit the entrance to Kadhimiya, a mostly Shiite district in the northwest of the Iraqi capital, killing 15 and wounding 33 others. The other bomb went off on a commercial thoroughfare in a predominately Sunni neighbourhood of western Baghdad, killing seven and wounding 20. Police sources said that the death tolls are expected to rise.
The IS group claimed responsibility for all three attacks.
The islamist group considers Shiites, who make up the majority of Iraq’s population, to be heretics and often targets them with bombings.
Sadr City attack sparks fury
The Sadr City blast Wednesday morning set nearby shops ablaze and left debris including the charred, twisted remains of a vehicle in the street.
Dozens of angry people gathered at the scene of the bombing, blaming the government for the carnage.
“The state is in a conflict over (government positions) and the people are the victims,” said a man named Abu Ali, adding: “The politicians are behind the explosion.”
Baghdad resident Abu Muntadhar echoed this anger, saying the politicians “should all get out.”
Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who spearheaded a protest movement demanding a cabinet reshuffle and other reforms, has a huge following in the working class neighbourhood of Sadr City, which was named after his father.
Iraq’s legislature has been paralysed by a political crisis over replacing the cabinet that the United States and the United Nations have warned could undermine the fight against IS group.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has sought to replace the cabinet of party-affiliated ministers with a government of technocrats, a move opposed by powerful parties that rely on control of ministries for patronage and funds.
Angry demonstrators broke into Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and stormed parliament after lawmakers again failed to approve new ministers last month.
While the protesters withdrew the following day, parliament has still yet to hold another session.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2016-05-11