At least 46 civilians were killed today in a series of bombings across Iraq, which has targeted the country’s Shi’ite majority and did enormous damage to a Mosul-area mosque full of worshippers. The toll is expected to rise as bodies are recovered from the rubble, and over 100 are estimated to be wounded.
The Rashidiyah Mosque, just north of Mosul, was targeted by a car bomber, killing at least 38 and injuring at least 88 others. According to police many of the injured are in critical condition and some are not expected to survive. The mosque was in the neighborhood of the Shi’ite Turkmen minority of Iraq.
Three other bombings took place across Baghdad, targeting Shi’ite pilgrims returning from Karbala. The attacks killed eight more and injured at least 24 others. It was unclear if all the victims of the attacks were Iraqi, but it is common for pilgrims from neighboring Iran to make the trip to Karbala.
Iraqi officials have recently speculated that the growing number of attacks against Shi’ites across the nation signals a renewed campaign by al-Qaeda in Iraq, a group which had been relatively quiet since its 2006 bombing campaign.
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Many Iraqis believe that al-Qaeda in Iraq is an American creation The story of Aziz Abu Ammar, an affable sexagenarian impeccably dressed with suit and silk tie, is emblematic of what happened to Iraq's professional and cultural elites…Ammar is emphatic: "There is no Sunni against Shi'ite. The Americans provoked it. Since the beginning they started talking about separate areas. In Baghdad most marriages are mixed." That's exactly his case. He is Shi'ite, his wife is Sunni.
The solution for Iraq is "the Americans out, all foreign troops out. But even after they leave, we will need a strongman. I don't trust any of these political parties or groups. The only solution would be new, really free elections." He insists "al-Qaeda destroyed the country", but in the same breath adds, "Al-Qaeda is an American creation."
They blame the occupation for the bombings "I do not believe it is al-Qaeda any more," a woman weeping near the scene of the bombing told IPS. "I do not care any more, I am just losing my loved ones. The last explosion hit my husband, and now he is disabled, and this one took my son's life."
She referred to a similar bombing two-and-a-half months ago at the same market that killed 137 and wounded many more.
U.S. leaders and Iraqi government officials again accused "terrorists and the Saddamists" of the bombing. But many people around Baghdad are blaming the occupation forces and the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.
"I noticed that security officers did not carry out any site investigation," a former police officer who lives in a neighboring area told IPS, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "I have also noticed that no such crime has been solved since the first days of the occupation."
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