Twin Explosions In Shiite Area Of Baghdad Kill 6

Published January 5, 2012 6:00AM (EST)

BAGHDAD (AP) — Two explosions in a Shiite neighborhood of eastern Baghdad killed six people and wounded at least 16 others on Thursday, Iraqi officials said.

In the first and largest attack, police officials say a motorbike bomb went off near a bus stop where day laborers gather looking for work in the Sadr city neighborhood, killing six people and wounding 10.

The explosion took place while some of the workers were having their breakfast sandwiches and tea and others where trying to board a minibus, officials said.

Half an hour later, a roadside bomb exploded near a small tea shop in the same neighborhood, wounding six people.

Medical officials at nearby hospitals confirmed the casualties. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Iraqi leaders have warned of a resurgence of Sunni and Shiite militants and an increase in violence following the U.S. troop withdrawal, which was completed last month.

The early morning blasts followed a series of deadly attacks Wednesday that targeted the homes of police officers and a member of a government-allied militia. Those attacks, in the cities of Baqouba and Abu Ghraib outside Baghdad, killed four people, including two children, officials said.

The latest violence comes as Iraqi politicians remain deadlocked in a festering political crisis that threatens to re-ignite simmering sectarian tensions in the country.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government, dominated by Iraq's majority Shiites, issued an arrest warrant for the country's top Sunni politician last month. The Sunni official, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, is currently holed up in Iraq's Kurdish north — effectively out of reach of state security forces.

Al-Maliki's main political rival, the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, is boycotting parliament sessions and Cabinet meetings to protest what they say are efforts by the government to consolidate power and marginalize them.

By Salon Staff

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