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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    100-plus killed in Baghdad bombings

    BAGHDAD — Militants unleashed a wave of deadly attacks in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 110 people in Shiite neighborhoods, authorities said, in an apparent bid to provoke a new sectarian war in the country.

    At least 17 car bombs and other blasts shook the city at sunset in one of the bloodiest days this year. The coordinated attacks, which bore the hallmarks of the Sunni Arab militant group al-Qaeda in Iraq, came just 48 hours after 58 people died when armed men seized a Baghdad church.

    “”The new Qaeda has started its work again in Iraq,”” a senior Iraqi security commander warned, speaking on condition of anonymity. “”The situation is very bad.””

    Each deadly incident, whether a fatal shooting or a major explosion, fuels foreboding that Iraq could once more fall apart as the American military presence dwindles and the nation stands without a new government eight months after national elections. The senior commander cautioned that Iraq’s political deadlock was tempting disaster.

    “”It’s getting worse,”” he said, referring to the violence. “”Maybe it will be worse than 2005 if the government doesn’t form.””

    In Baghdad’s Sadr City, the bedrock of support for populist Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr, a car bomb exploded by a street market, killing 15 people and wounding 23 others, according to police.

    Car bombs and small explosives also ripped districts near the densely packed Sadr neighborhood. At least five car bombs detonated in four Shiite districts in western Baghdad, killing 23 people. The bloodshed triggered memories of the warfare in the capital between Shiite and Sunni armed groups that ended a little over two years ago.

    In the dark days of 2006, Sunni extremists, associated with al-Qaeda in Iraq, regularly bombed Shiite sections of Baghdad. Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia often struck back, with raids into Sunni areas. The violence began to cool in late 2007 after Sunni insurgents turned against al-Qaeda in Iraq, Sadr froze his militia’s activities, and the U.S. military sent additional soldiers to Baghdad to salvage a disastrous situation.

    One Sadrist lawmaker faulted the political blocs for Tuesday’s carnage. Political leaders “”are occupied with who gets what position and are busy with quarrels amongst each other. It feels so irresponsible,”” said Hakim Zamili, a parliament member, beloved in Sadr City for fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq and reviled by Sunnis as a symbol of the Mahdi Army. “”I don’t think people will resort to revenge. They just want peace and quiet and to live an honest life. “”

    Hospitalized victims spoke with resignation. Ali Yassin, with shrapnel wounds to his arms, legs and head, had been watching the sunset in Sadr City when he was suddenly knocked down by flames. “”I am sorry the situation has gotten so bad,”” he said. “”This emergency room is packed, dirty and chaotic. The doctors are doing everything they can, but what can anyone do?””

    Hassan Naima, who operates a food cart in the eastern neighborhood of Shaab, was preparing sandwiches for customers when he heard four loud blasts. Cars raced away with wounded people, and smoke filled the air.

    “”Where are the people who are bragging about the security?”” Naima asked. “”Where is the government? They left us to face the

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