People the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's Karaada
district. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani
At least 52 people were killed today as a motorcycle
rigged with explosives detonated in Baghdad's Sadr City and
militants targeted mostly Shi'ite neighbourhoods around the
The motorcycle was parked in a second-hand bike market in the
Shi'ite Muslim neighbourhood that was filled with people,
mostly young men, when it exploded late Thursday afternoon,
killing 31 and wounding 51 others, Iraqi medical and police
Blood covered the ground, storefront windows were shattered
and shoes and motorcycle parts were strewn around the market,
according to a Reuters correspondent at the scene. Dozens of
people were screaming for information about their relatives.
A wounded man, who identified himself as Ahmed, rested in a
nearby hospital. "I was about to leave the market when a huge
explosion happened," Ahmed said. "I was hit in my face and my
hands and when I got up, everyone was screaming and running
towards me away from the blast."
It was not clear who was behind the bombing but violence
against Shi'ites is often blamed on the Sunni Muslim Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al Qaeda-linked
Baghdad has been hit by wave after wave of bombings since
April as the precarious peace enjoyed since the end of Iraq's
sectarian war in 2008 has unravelled.
Explosives and suicide bombs have been favoured by Sunni
extremists as they seek to target Shi'ite areas and
intimidate their own religious community.
The latest bloodshed comes as Prime Minister Nouri Maliki
wages a war against Sunni militants in western Anbar province
neighbouring Syria, and has become a base for ISIL. Despite
the offensive, the pace of attacks around the country goes on
In other violence, four people died from bombs on two
different mini-buses in Shi'ite sections of Baghdad.
A militant smashed his explosives-packed vehicle into a
checkpoint, killing three soldiers and wounding six others in
Mushaada, a Sunni district, in northern Baghdad, police said.
In Salahuddin province, a pro-government Sunni-manned
checkpoint in the town of Shirqat was hit by a bomb that
killed two fighters and wounded four others, police said.
A suicide car bomber piled into the greeting house of a
prominent tribal leader in Haditha in western Anbar province,
killing Sheikh Said Fleah al-Usman and six of his guests and
wounding 22 others, police said.
Usman had been a leader of the pro-government "Awakening"
paramilitary force and a member of Haditha's municipal
The manner of his death reflected the bloody struggles taking
place within the Sunni community in Anbar as some support the
government, others back al-Qaeda linked groups and some
factions are opposed to both.
To the north in Tuz Khurmatu, a bomb in an outdoor
marketplace frequented by Shi'ite Turkmen killed two people
and wounded 11 others.
In Diyala province to the east, which has been roiled by
tit-for-tat violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites, gunmen shot
dead three members of a Sunni family in Khallis as they drove
home, police said. No reason was given for the killings.