Multiple explosions kill 6, wound several in Baghdad

Violence peaked in Iraq during 2006 and 2007, when sectarian tensions were at their highest. (AP)
Updated 06 November 2018

Multiple explosions kill 6, wound several in Baghdad

  • Washington and Tehran have competed for influence in Iraq since the 2003 US invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

BAGHDAD: Explosions in several Shiite-majority districts in Iraq’s capital late Sunday killed six people, most of them civilians, and wounded several others, police and medical sources said.
In northern Baghdad’s Aden roundabout area, two civilians were killed and another six wounded by a blast near a bus stop, the sources told AFP.
A bomb in the nearby Tarmiyah neighborhood targeted a military convoy, killing a soldier and wounding two others.
A government employee was killed in the southwestern area of Al-Sahha when explosives attached under his car were detonated, according to a police officer and medical source.
In the eastern district of Sadr City, two people were killed and four wounded in two explosions in the Shiite neighborhood.
And two other blasts went off on buses in other parts of Baghdad’s northeast, wounding seven.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for any of the explosions.
Sadr City is the former bastion of the Mahdi Army. Violence peaked in Iraq during 2006 and 2007, when sectarian tensions were at their highest.
But it has fallen across Iraq and particularly Baghdad since the government declared victory over Daesh in December.
Clandestine militant cells remain across the country and have waged guerrilla-type attacks against government posts.
Separately, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry rejected recently what it called US interference in its affairs after the US Embassy issued a statement telling neighboring Iran to respect Iraq’s sovereignty.
The US Embassy in Baghdad had posted a message on Twitter saying Tehran must “respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration” of Shiite militias.
It was one of several statements issued on the embassy’s Twitter account outlining US demands before new US sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sector took effect on Nov. 4. The sanctions worry Iraq as it imports crucial supplies from Iran.
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it “rejects interference in Iraq’s internal affairs, especially domestic security reform” and demanded the Twitter post be removed.
Washington and Tehran have competed for influence in Iraq since the 2003 US invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Iraq’s Shiite militias, which took part in a US-backed campaign to defeat Daesh, were formally included in the security forces this year. Some militias are backed by Iran, a majority Shiite nation. Washington wants them disarmed. The US has said it would grant Baghdad a waiver on Iranian gas and energy imports that feed Iraqi power stations, and vital food items, Iraqi officials said on Friday.


Dozens of Iraqi protestors wounded as anti-government unrest resumes

Updated 12 min 8 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.