Dozens also injured in worst day of violence of 2010
Residents gather at the site of a bomb attack in Basra, southeast of Baghdad, on Monday, May 10, 2010. (Photo credit: Atef Hassan / Reuters)
May 10, 2010
BAGHDAD – A man with explosives strapped to his body blew himself up in a crowd, bombers struck a southern city and gunmen sprayed fire on security checkpoints in attacks Monday that killed at least 100 people – most of them in Shiite areas – in Iraq’s deadliest day this year. …
The relentless cascade of bombings and shootings – hitting at least 10 cities and towns as the day unfolded – also raised questions about whether Iraqi security forces can protect the country as the U.S. prepares to withdraw half of its remaining 92,000 troops in Iraq over the next four months.
The U.S. and Iraq have claimed major blows again al-Qaida in Iraq over the last month – most notably the killings of two militant leaders Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri [link added] in an April 18 raid on their safehouse near Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. …
The violence began before dawn in Baghdad in a series of attacks against checkpoints and patrols, targeting security forces. Gunmen disguised as cleaners used weapons fixed with silencers to spray security forces with bullets. At least 10 people were killed.
Most of the day’s casualties were in two Shiite-dominated cities where wounded victims screamed their fury at the government for failing to protect them.
The worst violence hit the Shiite city of Hillah, the capital of Babil province 60 miles south of Baghdad. First, two parked car bombs near a textile factory exploded as workers were leaving the factory around midday, said Babil provincial police spokesman Maj. Muthana Khalid.
Then as rescuers and workers were trying to help the injured, a suicide attacker with explosives strapped to his belt blew himself up in the crowd.
At least 45 people were killed and dozens more injured, according to Khalid and al-Hillah hospital director Zuhair al Khafaji.
“It was a horrible scene with human flesh and blood on the ground,” said Jassim Znad Abid, a taxi driver who lives in Hillah. “I saw dead people, some burned and crying, wounded people on the ground that was covered with pools of blood.” …
Hillah has been the site of horrific bombings in the past, including blasts in 2007 that killed at least 120 people and a suicide car bomber in 2005 that killed 125 people, mostly police and national guard recruits.
In another Shiite city, the southern port of Basra, three bombs, including one that targeted a marketplace, killed at least 15 people, hospital and police officials said. Basra has been relatively quiet since the days when Shiite militias allied with Iran ruled the streets; al-Maliki, with heavy U.S. support, routed the militias in 2008.
A pair of bombs struck the small town of Suwayrah, 25 miles south of Baghdad, killing 11. Three different bombings in the town of Abu Ghraib west of Baghdad that killed at least six people.
Twelve more were killed in five separate attacks stretching from the northern city of Mosul to the western city of Fallujah in Anbar province to the Shiite city of Musayyib south of Baghdad.
Fear of sectarian violence
The attack in Mosul killed at least two people near a checkpoint run by Iraqi security forces, Kurdish security forces known as the peshmerga, and U.S. troops. The joint checkpoints were set up earlier this year under U.S. supervision as a way to get Iraqi and Kurdish forces working together in areas claimed by both the Kurds and Iraq’s federal government.
Daily violence in Iraq has eased since the height of the insurgency. But the latest attacks raise fears that the country’s barely contained sectarian tensions could once again explode – especially at a time of clouded political leadership. However, there have been few, if any, examples if the retaliatory violence that marked the sectarian conflict just a few years ago and brought Iraq to the brink of civil war. …
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Men carry a victim injured in one of a series of parked car bombs in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City on Friday, April 23, 2010. (Photo credit: Karim Kadim / AP)
Iraq Election Violence (March 8, 2010)
Explosion rips popular cafe as sectarian tensions mount
By Rebecca Santana
May 12, 2010
BAGHDAD — A bomb in a parked car ripped through a Sadr City neighborhood Wednesday evening, killing seven young people who had gathered at a nearby cafe to drink tea and play dominoes, Iraqi officials said.
The attack comes just days after a string of shootings and bombings convulsed the country in Iraq’s worst violence so far this year. …
Earlier on Wednesday, three people were killed and 23 were wounded in northwest Baghdad when a booby-trapped body exploded near a grocery store. …
The Wednesday attacks come as Iraqi security officials have been carrying out raids and searches in areas such as Hillah and Basra, following a wave of violence Monday that unfolded throughout the day and stretched from Mosul in the north all the way to Basra in the south; at least 119 people were killed in the bombings and shootings in what was Iraq’s bloodiest day this year. …
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — May 10, 2009
One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that CNN’s John Avlon, in the inaugural edition of American Morning’s “Wingnuts of the Week” segment, named U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann a charter member of the Wingnut Hall of Fame.
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