U.S. condemns Iraq bombing wave; new violence kills seven more

A boy looks at the site of a car bomb attack in the Shaab neighbourhood of northern Baghdad August 11, 2013. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani
A boy looks at the site of a car bomb attack in the Shaab neighbourhood of northern Baghdad August 11, 2013. Credit: Reuters

Gun attacks and a bombing killed at least seven more people in Iraq on Sunday, police said, after a day of carnage aimed mainly at Shi’ite Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan.

The United States condemned a wave of car bombings which police and medical sources said killed nearly 80 people across Iraq on Saturday, saying those who had attacked civilians during Eid al-Fitr festivities were “enemies of Islam.”

Bombs tore through markets, shopping streets and parks late on Saturday as Iraqi families were out celebrating the end of the Muslim fasting month.

Iraq’s Interior Ministry said media reports about the attacks had been exaggerated in a way that would give a morale boost to attackers. It said 21 people had been killed across Iraq in the multiple attacks and that a recent security crackdown called “Avenge the Martyrs” had been effective.

Eighteen months since the last U.S. troops withdrew, Sunni Islamist militants have been gathering force in their insurgency against Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government.

The civil war in neighboring Syria has aggravated tensions and the Interior Ministry said last month it was facing an “open war”.

The renewed violence has raised fears that Iraq could relapse into the sectarian bloodbath of 2006-2007 when tens of thousands were killed.

The State Department said Saturday’s attacks bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda’s Iraqi (AQI) branch. It reiterated that it was offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the killing or capture of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the AQI leader.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the cowardly attacks today in Baghdad,” the State Department said. “The terrorists who committed these acts are enemies of Islam and a shared enemy of the United States, Iraq, and the international community.”

It said the United States would work closely with the Iraqi government to confront al Qaeda and discuss this during a visit of Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari next week to Washington.

DEADLY RAMADAN

This has been one of the deadliest Ramadan months in years, with bomb attacks killing hundreds. Explosions in Baghdad on Tuesday killed 50.

On Sunday, gunmen opened fire at a checkpoint manned by “Sawha”, a government-backed Sunni militia, killing two and wounding two in the town of Buhriz, about 60 km (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, police said.

Further north, gunmen attacked a busy park in the town of Balad, killing two and wounding three, police said.

To the south of the capital, three anti-terrorism squad officers were killed and nine wounded by a roadside bomb in the town of Mahaweel, 60 km (35 miles) from Baghdad.

More than 1,000 Iraqis were killed in July, the highest monthly death toll since 2008, according to the United Nations.

“This carnage reflects the inhuman character of its perpetrators,” United Nations envoy to Iraq Gyorgy Busztin said. “All honest Iraqis should unite to put an end to this murderous violence that aims to push the country into sectarian strife.”

Since last year, Iraq’s al Qaeda branch has merged with one of the most powerful Sunni Islamist rebel groups in Syria to form The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The group now controls towns and villages on both sides of the desert frontier, with access to funds, weapons and recruits.

Al Qaeda claimed responsibility last month for simultaneous raids on two Iraqi prisons and said more than 500 inmates had escaped in the brazen operation.

The reward for Baghdadi is second only to that offered for information leading to the capture of Ayman al-Zawahri, the overall chief of al Qaeda’s network, the State Department said.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.