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Wave of attacks kill 49 in Iraq

Reuters . Hilla, Iraq

People walk past the site of bomb attacks in Baghdad’s Karrada district on Tuesday. — Reuters photoPeople walk past the site of bomb attacks in Baghdad’s Karrada district on Tuesday. — Reuters photo

Bombs exploded in predominantly Shia Muslim districts of the Iraqi capital and in the southern city of Hilla on Tuesday, killing at least 49 people, police and hospital sources said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, but Shia are often targeted by Sunni Islamist insurgents who have been regaining ground in Iraq over the past year and overran several towns in recent weeks.
The deadliest attacks on Tuesday occurred in and around the mainly Shia city of Hilla, 100km south of Baghdad, where 35 people were killed in seven car bomb explosions inside the city itself and the nearby towns of Haswa, Mahaweel and Mussayab.
‘I was sitting in my shop when suddenly a powerful blast smashed the front window,’ said Ali Mousa, whose mini-market was near the site of one bomb in central Hilla. ‘I went out to see what happened and saw bodies on the ground and wounded people bleeding and shouting for help’.
At least 90 people were wounded in the blasts, which Hilla police chief, Major General Abbas Abid blamed on groups linked to al-Qaeda.
‘Al-Qaeda terrorist groups stand behind today’s attacks in Hilla to confuse the security forces and cause high casualties among civilians,’ he said. ‘They are criminals and they never get enough of innocent blood’.
Last year was Iraq’s bloodiest since sectarian violence began to abate in 2008.
Fourteen people were killed in explosions in mainly Shia districts of Baghdad. In one, a bomb inside a parked vehicle exploded near a bus station in the Bayaa district, killing five people, the sources said. There were also blasts in the Amil, Ilam and Shurta districts.
The prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, has appealed for international support and weapons to fight al-Qaeda, but critics say his policies towards Iraq’s once dominant Sunni minority are at least partly to blame for reviving the insurgency.
 




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Wave of attacks kill 49 in Iraq

People walk past the site of bomb attacks in Baghdad’s Karrada district on Tuesday. — Reuters photo
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