At least 54 people were killed today and over 187 others were wounded when a series of bombings tore through apartment buildings across the city. One market was also hit in the bombings.
US and Iraqi officials were quick to blame “al-Qaeda” for the attacks, but they seem to be uncharacteristic for the group, whose larger coordinated attacks in Iraq have tended to focus on government ministries and trying to assassinate officials, not in bombing seemingly random apartment blocks.
Today’s attacks are the latest in an alarming build-up of high profile attacks, the third in Baghdad in the past four days. A Sunday attack on foreign embassies in Mansoor District saw 50 people killed, while an overnight attack on Friday night/Saturday morning saw English-speaking militants in uniforms similar to the US march into a suburb and massacre 25 members of an extended family.
The violence appears to be related in part to the rising tensions after last month’s election and Ayad Allawi, the leader of the apparent winning party in the election, blamed the attacks on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s contesting of the results, saying that it was a consequence of “how democracy is being raped in Iraq.” He predicted that more attacks would come in the weeks and months ahead.
One Shi’ite MP, a member of the Iraqi National Alliance, blamed pretty much everybody for the attack, saying it was carried out by the Ba’athists, al-Qaeda, and the US military all working in concert. Recently several politicians, notably Ahmed Chalabi, have alleged that the US is plotting to install a Ba’athist government in Iraq as part of a needlessly convoluted plan to invade neighboring Iran.