December 22, 2014
Baghdad blast, other attacks kill 52 in Iraq
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 country.
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 in the afternoon, killing 31 and wounding 51 others, Iraqi medical and police sources said.
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 group.
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 undiminished.