Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Car bomb attacks target Iraqi security forces and Shias

By Michael Ireland
Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (ANS) -- At least 32 people have been killed in Iraq as car bomb attacks targeted security forces and Shia pilgrims around the country, police say, as reported by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) www.bbc.co.ukSunday, Sept.30 .

"It has been a morning of intense bombings this morning. Scores of people have been killed, the bombings also happened in the Christian areas just around us. Please pray for all our people. We will let you know more news soon," wrote Canon Andrew White, vicar of St. George's Church in Baghdad, on his Facebook page.

Earlier, Canon White wrote: "Friday was a wonderful day with the vsiit to the Church of some of the leading people from the US Embassy. The Youth service was simply glorious -- no picture can capture the open heavens."

The BBC's Rami Ruhayem in the capital Baghdad said such bombings have almost become "very much a part of daily life."

Map showing location of Taji, Madain ans Kut in relation to Baghdad (Graphic via BBC website)
In Taji, a mainly Sunni town north of the capital, Baghdad, four car bombs went off within minutes of each other, killing at least eight people, the BBC reported.

In the southern town of Madain, a bomb exploded near a Shia shrine and Iranian pilgrims were among the injured, the BBC said.

There were also attacks in Kut and other Iraqi cities, the BBC added.

Civilians were among those killed and injured in the attacks around the capital, but the aim of the attackers seems to have been to kill as many security personnel as possible, wherever they could reach them, says the BBC's Rami Ruhayem in Baghdad.

The BBC says that although violence has decreased in Iraq since its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks escalated again after the withdrawal of US troops from the country at the end of last year.

More than 100 people were injured in Sunday's attacks, the BBC said.

The BBC went on to say that aome reports say the car-bomb blasts in Taji were near Shia Muslim homes in the town, 20km (12 miles) north of Baghdad. Others say the blasts targeted police checkpoints.

The first bomb went off in Taji at 07:15 (04:15 GMT), police were quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.
In Madain, a car bomb exploded at around 10:30, next to a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims.

Three Iraqis were killed and seven Iranians are among the injured, officials told AP.

Police and Shia civilians were killed or injured in other attacks in the Baghdad area on Sunday, according to the BBC report.
A car bomb targeting a police patrol in Kut killed six people and injured 10, police told BBC News.
Bombs also went off in the cities of Mosul and Baquba, the BBC said.

The BBC reported that a resident of the Ammil district in Baghdad accused fugitive Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi and pro-Sunni media organizations of inflaming passions against Iraq's Shia majority.

"They are the terrorists," he told Reuters news agency. "They want to terminate the Shia. They want to see all the Shia gone."

The BBC said Hashemi was recently sentenced to death in absentia after an Iraqi court found him guilty of running death squads.

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