Officials blame al-Qaida for bombings targeted mostly at Shiite worshippers
A series of bomb attacks mainly targeting Shiite worshippers killed 58 people Friday, including 25 near the main Baghdad office of an anti-U.S. Shiite cleric, officials said.
The violence demonstrated insurgents remain a potent force days after Iraqi authorities announced the killings of the top two al-Qaida in Iraq leaders in what they described as a major blow. Extremists are also seeking to exploit political deadlock after the inconclusive March 7 parliamentary election and ignite sectarian warfare as U.S. forces prepare to go home.
The biggest of Friday’s bombings took place just a few hundred yards from the compound of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Baghdad’s vast slum of Sadr City as worshippers were gathered for Friday prayers at the compound.
Two car bombs and a roadside bomb exploded around 1:30 p.m., killing 25 people and wounding an estimated 150, according to hospital and police officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The blasts left blood streaming down muddy streets. Men carried victims away using bed sheets as makeshift stretchers and loaded them into the backs of trucks and rushed them to the hospital. One man fled carrying a young girl whose pink dress was stained with blood.
Many who gathered at the scene pelted Iraqi security officials with stones when they arrived in the area, frustrated with their apparent inability to secure the city. Iraqi security officials fired their guns in the air to disperse the crowd.
Bombings elsewhere in Iraq — most of them targeting Shiite worshippers — killed 33 other people in one of the deadliest days the country has seen in weeks. Targeting Shiite mosques is a hallmark of the Sunni-dominated terrorist group al-Qaida in Iraq.
The death toll was given by police and hospital officials.
A spokesman for the Baghdad operations command, Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, put the number of dead in Sadr City at 10 and the total number of killings across Baghdad at 54, with 108 wounded. Conflicting casualty counts are common after bombings in Iraq.
He called the attacks “a hysterical reaction by al-Qaida operatives in response for the gigantic blows they received by the security forces recently.”
“We expect that such attacks will continue,” he said.
In the other attacks, at least 14 people were killed near a Shiite mosque in eastern Baghdad, eight died in an explosion in the northern area of Hurriyah that targeted another Shiite mosque, and a roadside bomb in southeastern Baghdad killed one person.
Another two people were killed in the Rahmaniya neighborhood of northern Baghdad and another was killed in the Dora neighborhood.
And in the western Anbar province, before dawn, homemade bombs planted around the houses of Iraqi policemen killed seven people, including a soldier trying to defuse one of the devices, authorities said.
More Related Stories
- Conservative group blames military sexual assault on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal
- Lois Lerner, IRS disaster
- Donald Rumsfeld worried that marriage equality will lead to polygamy
- San Francisco Giant Jeremy Affeldt apologizes for homophobic past
- 9-year-old slams Rahm over Chicago schools
- Experts: Fox News spying scandal a game-changer
- Stockholm riots rage for third day
- Wall Street firm's "Golden Pitchbook" is totally sexist, full of lies
- Must-see morning clip: Toronto's eccentric and allegedly crack-smoking mayor
- Federal court strikes down Arizona abortion ban
- Jodi Arias: I deserve a second chance
- Oklahoma residents return home to pick up the pieces
- Florida man with connection to Tsarnaev killed by FBI
- FBI identifies 5 Benghazi suspects
- Here come the tornado truthers. Already
- Peace Corps to allow gay couples to volunteer together
- Moore officials: Funds for "safe rooms" were held up by red tape
- Rand Paul: Congress should apologize to Apple, not the other way around
- Rescue crews race to find tornado survivors
- Looting in Oklahoma?
- Hundreds of low-wage federally contracted workers strike in D.C.
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11