In what has come to be by far the deadliest single day of attacks so far in 2010, at least 154 Iraqis were killed and 620 wounded. Many of the attacks centered around the city of Hillah.
At a Hillah textile factory, a pair of suicide car bombers attacked the entrance during a shift change, killing 35 and wounding 136. As medics and relatives rushed to the scene, another suicide bomber hit, adding to the toll. Other attacks hit across the nation, including coordinated attacks against checkpoints in Baghdad.
The attacks were the latest and largest in a growing string of high level attacks across Iraq since the March 7 election, which led to a narrow plurality for Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya, and then to a series of arrests and disqualifications of Iraqiya members.
The election squabble is still far from over, but Allawi seems destined to return to the opposition as the second and third place finishers, both Shi’ite religious blocs, have merged into a dominant power.
Allawi today warned that sectarian tensions are on the rise, and that Iraq could soon face a new civil war. Iraqiya was a secular bloc, but relied mostly on Sunni voters for its narrow victory, setting the stage for yet another battle between Sunnis and Shi’ites.