Wave of attacks kill 49 in IraqReuters . Hilla, Iraq
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.
comments powered by Disqus
Pakistan warned Iran on Tuesday not to send troops across the two countries’ shared border to retrieve five kidnapped Iranian border guards, an incident that threatens to exacerbate regional and sectarian tensions. Full story
India’s Supreme Court commuted death sentences on three men for involvement in the killing of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to life imprisonment on Tuesday because of an 11-year delay in deciding on their petitions for mercy. Full story
Social contact and regular exercise are key to aging well and living a longer life, according to newly presented research. In fact, feeling extremely lonely can increase an older person’s chances of premature death by 14 per cent, an impact... Full story
India’s lower house passed a contentious proposal to split Andhra Pradesh and create the new state of Telangana on Tuesday amid chaotic scenes and uproar in parliament from opponents of the bill. The live broadcast of proceedings in the Indian... Full story
A militant Islamist group has warned tourists to leave Egypt and threatened to attack any who stay in the country after February 20, raising the prospect of a new front in a fast-growing insurgency. Full story
Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf arrived in court to face treason charges on Tuesday, a victory for the country’s increasingly assertive judiciary after months of delays. Musharraf, 70, faces the death penalty if found guilty... Full story
Italy on Tuesday recalled its ambassador from India in protest over a new delay in court proceedings against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in a case that has raised tensions. Full story
At least three anti-government protesters were killed and around 150 others were injured, some seriously, in fresh clashes between police and demonstrators in Kiev on Tuesday, opposition medics said. Full story
Snow-choked roads cut off thousands on Tuesday as parts of Japan struggled to dig out from its second storm in a week, with the death toll rising to at least 23. Train services were suspended in some areas after the Valentine’s Day storm dumped... Full story
Syria must free dozens of children held in an interrogation centre after they were evacuated from rebel-held parts of the city of Homs, the UN children’s agency said on Tuesday. ‘As of today, there are 56 children at the facility, including 34 boys... Full story