Bombs kill 76 in Iraq leading to fear of civil war
A series of bombs which exploded throughout Sunni regions in Baghdad and its surrounding areas on Friday have killed at least 76 people on the deadliest day in Iraq in more than eight months.
The attack followed another blast, which targeted a Shiite community the previous days.
The total death toll since Wednesday stands at 130, which has led to increasing fears that after this major spike in sectarian bloodshed the country might be veering again towards a civil war.
Bodies sprawled across a street just outside a mosque and mourners killed during a funeral are reminiscent of 2006-2007 when US forces battled extremists on both sides.
Since last December Sunni Muslims have been protesting against mistreatment at the hand of the Shiite-led government. Most of these protests have been peaceful but tensions have intensified after a security crackdown at a Sunni protest camp on April 23rd which has caused a sudden rise in the number of attacks.
The worst attack hit Sunni worshippers in Baqouba, 35 miles north-east of Baghdad, while they were leaving a mosque and left 41 dead and 56 wounded. Soon after another explosion struck those who gathered to help the victims.
Baqouba is where some of the fiercest fighting between US forces and insurgents happened in post-Saddam Iraq and is also the capital of Diyala province, which has a religiously mixed area where some of the worst atrocities between the Shiite militia and Sunni insurgents took place.
Jawad al-Hasnawi, a lawmaker with the bloc loyal to Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, said: “It is not a coincidence that the attacks were concentrated in some areas of one sect and then moved the next day into areas of the other sect. It is clear that terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and Baathists are trying hard to reignite the sectarian war in Iraq.”
He added: “but the government bears full responsibility for this security chaos and it has to take quick and serious measures in order to stop the bloodshed.”
Talal al-Zobaie, a Sunni politician, hopes that all politicians across the religious and ethnic spectrum will focus on protecting the nation. He said: “The government should admit that it has failed to secure the country and the people, and all security commanders should be replaced by efficient people who can really confront terrorism.”