Mon, Aug 12, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Attacks during Ramadan kill at least 800 in Iraq

AFP, BAGHDAD

Iraqis angrily blamed the authorities yesterday for failing to prevent attacks that killed 74 people on Saturday as they marked the Eid al-Fitr holiday ending Iraq’s bloodiest Ramadan in years.

The violence, which also wounded more than 320 people, was roundly condemned by the international community.

Iraqis voiced frustration with the government and security forces for failing to prevent the 16 car bombings and other attacks which killed 74 people on Saturday, 47 of them in the capital.

The worst bloodshed in five years has raised worries of a return to the all-out Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict that killed tens of thousands over the past years.

“There will not be any improvement in the Iraqi situation,” said a man who gave his name as Abu Samer, near the site of a twin car bombing in Shaab, north Baghdad, where eight people were killed.

The 64-year-old retired agricultural engineer said he hoped to send his children overseas, “far from what is happening in Iraq and Baghdad.”

In east Baghdad, at the site of another car bombing, Ali al-Shammari said Iraq’s long-running political deadlock was to blame.

“I will never vote for another person again,” the father of three said. “How long should we live in this situation because of politicians?”

Security forces tightened searches at checkpoints in the capital, leading to long lines of traffic, a blunt measure often employed in the immediate aftermath of deadly attacks, but that has largely failed to curb the violence.

New attacks yesterday killed six people nationwide, officials said.

A roadside bomb killed three soldiers south of Baghdad, while gunmen shot dead two anti-Islamist militiamen near Baqubah, north of the capital, and police killed a man who drove through a checkpoint in the northern city of Mosul.

Among the attacks on Saturday was a spate of vehicles rigged with explosives that were detonated in public markets, cafes and restaurants across eight neighborhoods in Baghdad in apparently coordinated strikes.

Also on Saturday, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle near a police checkpoint in Tuz Khurmatu, north of the capital, killing nine people. A car bomb in Kirkuk, also north of Baghdad, killed an engineer.

Two car bombs in the southern city of Nasiriyah killed four, while a car bomb in the shrine city of Karbala left five others dead.

Elsewhere, three people were killed and five others wounded in separate attacks in Babil and Nineveh provinces.

More than 800 people died in attacks during the dawn-to-dusk fasting month of Ramadan, which began in the second week of last month and ended last week.

The violence came just weeks after attacks on prisons near the capital in which hundreds of inmates were freed.

Analysts, as well as global police organization Interpol, had warned that the jailbreaks could lead to a rise in attacks.

The US and UN condemned the latest attacks, with Washington reiterating a US$10 million bounty for information leading to the killing or capture of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

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