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Black Monday as Car Bombings Kill 32 in Baghdad

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6 Apr 09 | Google via AFP

A series of bloody car bombings in Baghdad on Monday recalled the blackest days of violence in the capital as at least 32 people were killed and nearly 130 more were wounded.

Shortly after midday, twin car bombs tore through a popular medical clinic and a crowded bazaar, killing 12 and wounding 23 in Um Al-Maalif just west of the city centre, defence and interior ministry officials said.

A total of six car bombs shattered the city’s fragile security situation just as British business minister Peter Mandelson arrived in Baghdad.

During the morning rush hour 10 people were killed and 65 wounded when a booby-trapped car exploded in a market area of the impoverished Shiite district of Sadr City in northeastern Baghdad, an interior ministry official said.

In the central Allawi district, four people were killed and 15 others wounded by another car bomb. Most of the victims were workers waiting for jobs, a defence ministry official said.

A car bomb targeting the convoy of a senior interior ministry official killed one civilian and a policeman and wounded six other policemen in the southeastern neighbourhood of New Baghdad.

The official, a brigadier general identified as Sadun, was unhurt.

And in Hussainiya, in the city’s far northeast, four people were killed and 20 were wounded when a vehicle exploded near a market.

Officials in the capital were unsure if the rush hour bombings between 7 am and 9 am were coordinated. Attacks at that time are common because the streets are so crowded.

Despite improving security bombings remain all too common in the capital, and the latest attacks came as Mandelson led Britain’s first official trade delegation to Baghdad for more than 20 years.

The business delegation, on a one-day visit, will also visit Basra in the south, a British embassy official said.

Security in Iraq has improved dramatically since 2007, when Iraqi and US forces launched offensives against Al-Qaeda militants with the help of local US-financed and US-trained militias.

But insurgents are still able to strike with deadly results. A total of 252 Iraqis were killed in violence in March, almost the same level as the previous month.

Statistics compiled by the defence, interior and health ministries showed that 185 civilians, 14 soldiers and 53 policemen were killed across Iraq, while the total number of wounded stood at 647.

The 258 Iraqis killed in February and the latest monthly toll were both higher than in January when 191 Iraqis were killed — the lowest monthly tally since the US-led invasion of March 2003.

Last month’s death toll was high because of four major suicide bombings, including a March 8 attack in Baghdad when an assailant on a bicycle blew himself up outside a police academy, killing at least 28 people.

Two days later, 33 people were killed by a suicide bomber at Abu Ghraib on the western outskirts of Baghdad, targeting tribal leaders and army officers.

And on March 26, a car bomb blasted a crowd near a Baghdad market, killing at least 20 people, while three days later a suicide attack targeting Kurdish mourners in central Iraq killed 27 people.

The US army’s second-highest ranking officer told reporters last month in Baghdad that recent “high-profile” attacks were not a signal that the overall security situation was worsening.

“In February 2008, the country was experiencing nearly 400 attacks a week nationwide,” Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin said. “We have driven down the level of attacks by violent extremists and terrorists.”

In 2008, 6,772 Iraqis were killed in violence. But in January 2007 alone, 1,992 civilians, 40 soldiers and 55 police were killed.

Meanwhile on Monday, an American soldier was killed in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, a US military statement said.

Diyala remains one of Iraq’s most dangerous areas, where Al-Qaeda and insurgent groups still manage to launch attacks despite the general decrease in violence overall.


Written by Editors

6 April 2009 at 12:38 pm

Posted in Middle East

Tagged with , , ,

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