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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Baghdad car bombing kills dozens in Shiite neighbourhood

A car bombing claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group killed at least 52 people at a market in a Shiite area of north Baghdad on Wednesday, officials said.

The blast, the single deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital this year, comes as the government is locked in a political crisis that some have warned could undermine the fight against the Islamic State group.
The bombing, which hit the Sadr City area at around 10am (0700 GMT), wounded at least 65 people, the officials said.
In separate attacks later in the day, two car bombs in the capital killed at least 22 civilians, police sources said.
One blast hit the entrance to Kadhimiya, a mostly Shi’ite district in the northwest of the Iraqi capital, killing 15 and wounding 33 others. The other bomb went off on a commercial thoroughfare in a predominately Sunni neighbourhood of western Baghdad, killing seven and wounding 20. Police sources said that the death tolls are expected to rise.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the second and third attacks.
Sadr City attack sparks fury
The Sadr City blast Wednesday morning set nearby shops ablaze and left debris including the charred, twisted remains of a vehicle in the street.
Dozens of angry people gathered at the scene of the bombing, blaming the government for the carnage.
“The state is in a conflict over (government positions) and the people are the victims,” said a man named Abu Ali, adding: “The politicians are behind the explosion.”
Baghdad resident Abu Muntadhar echoed this anger, saying the politicians “should all get out.”
Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who spearheaded a protest movement demanding a cabinet reshuffle and other reforms, has a huge following in the working class neighbourhood of Sadr City, which was named after his father.
Suicide bomber

The IS group issued an online statement claiming responsibility for the first attack in Sadr City.
It said a suicide bomber it identified as “Abu Sulaiman al-Ansari” detonated the explosives-rigged vehicle.
The IS militants considers Shiites, who make up the majority of Iraq’s population, to be heretics and often targets them with bombings.
Iraqi forces have regained significant ground from the IS group, but the jihadists still control large parts of western Iraq, and have the capability to carry out frequent bombings in government-held areas.
Political crisis

Iraq’s legislature has been paralysed by a political crisis over replacing the cabinet that the United States and the United Nations have warned could undermine the fight against IS group.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has sought to replace the cabinet of party-affiliated ministers with a government of technocrats, a move opposed by powerful parties that rely on control of ministries for patronage and funds.
Angry demonstrators broke into Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and stormed parliament after lawmakers again failed to approve new ministers last month.
While the protesters withdrew the following day, parliament has still yet to hold another session.

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