Sectarian Violence on the Rise Again in Iraq: Scores Killed in Two Days

Attacks on Mosques Fuel Fear of New Civil War

“1233April was a near-term high in Iraq’s ongoing sectarian violence, with a death toll in line with the Summer of 2008. That violence appears to be continuing into May, with a new round of sectarian attacks over the past two days killing scores.

Wednesday saw 42 people killed, and 141 others wounded. Today saw more bombings, centered around busy marketplaces and mosques, killing at least 40 more people.

The big attack today saw car bombs explode in a crowded Shi’ite marketplace. Previous attacks also included attacks on mosques, both Shi’ite and Sunni, as well as attacks in Sunni and Shi’ite neighborhoods nationwide.

Sectarian tensions have been on the rise for months, with spillover from Syria’s own sectarian civil war, but have really escalated since late April, when the military moved against Sunni protesters in the north. The crackdowns have fueled anger among Sunnis, and concern that if the escalation continues, Iraq could revisit its own sectarian war, during the worst days of the US occupation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.