Anbar slipping from govt grip

Updated 16 January 2014

Anbar slipping from govt grip

BAGHDAD: A wave of attacks in Iraq, including car bombs in Baghdad, killed 50 people Wednesday as militants took more territory from security forces in crisis-hit Anbar province.
The twin setbacks for authorities, grappling with Iraq’s worst period of unrest since the country emerged from a sectarian war that killed tens of thousands, come just months before parliamentary elections.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon and other diplomats have urged Iraq’s leaders to seek political reconciliation to resolve nationwide violence and the standoff in Anbar, but Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki has ruled out dialogue with militants as his forces have launched wide-ranging security operations.
But the operations, which authorities say have led to the death or capture of several militants affiliated with the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), have not stopped the bloodshed.
Eight car bombs hit civilian targets in majority-Shiite or mixed neighborhoods of the capital, killing 27.
One of them targeted a packed market in the neighborhood of Shaab.
Another detonated outside a restaurant on Sanaa Street, killing three people and badly damaging the restaurant and nearby shops and cars, an AFP journalist said.
Windows of nearby shops were shattered, the restaurant’s ceiling partially caved in and blood and mangled vehicle parts were scattered around the scene.
The Baghdad carnage could have been much worse, with police saying they managed to thwart four suicide bombers with explosives-rigged vehicles. A suicide bombing at a funeral in Buhruz, in restive and religiously mixed Diyala province north of Baghdad, killed 16 people and wounded 20, officials said.
The funeral was for a member of the Sahwa.
Seven others, including three soldiers, were killed in and around the northern city of Mosul.


Dozens of Iraqi protestors wounded as anti-government unrest resumes

Updated 42 min 1 sec ago

Dozens of Iraqi protestors wounded as anti-government unrest resumes

  • In Baghdad’s Tayaran Square overnight, protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at police
  • Baghdad police said its forces had successfully reopened all the roads that were closed by “violent gatherings.”

BAGHDAD: Dozens of Iraqi protestors were wounded in Baghdad and other cities on Monday in clashes with security forces who were trying to clear blocked roads, security and medical sources said, as anti-government unrest resumed after a lull of several weeks.

In Baghdad’s Tayaran Square overnight, protestors threw petrol bombs and stones at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades, Reuters witnesses said.

Elsewhere in southern Iraq, hundreds of protestors burned tires and blocked main roads in several cities, including Nassiriya, Kerbala and Amara. They say Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has not fulfilled promises including naming a new government acceptable to Iraqis.

“They (security forces) should stop shooting and aiming, who are they and who we are? Both sides are Iraqis. So why are you killing your brothers?” said one woman protestor in Baghdad who declined to give her name.

Baghdad police said its forces had successfully reopened all the roads that were closed by “violent gatherings.”

Mass protests have gripped Iraq since Oct. 1, with mostly young protesters demanding an overhaul of a political system they see as profoundly corrupt and as keeping most Iraqis in poverty. More than 450 people have been killed.

Numbers had dwindled but protests resumed last week as demonstrators sought to keep up momentum after attention turned to the threat of a US-Iran conflict following Washington’s killing of Tehran’s top general in an air strike inside Iraq.

The killing of Qassem Soleimani, to which Tehran responded with a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi military bases, has highlighted the influence of some foreign powers in Iraq, especially Iran and the United States.