Iraq war anniversary bombings leave dozens dead
Dozens of people have died as a wave of bombs tore through Baghdad on the 10th anniversary of the coalition invasion of the country.
At least 57 were killed in today’s attacks, showing how unstable Iraq remains more than a year after the withdrawal of American troops.
Violence has ebbed since the peak of Sunni-Shiite fighting that pushed the country to the brink of civil war in 2006-2007.
But insurgents maintain the ability to stage high-profile attacks while sectarian and ethnic rivalries continue to tear at the fabric of national unity.
The symbolism of today’s attacks was strong, coming 10 years to the day that the invasion was launched with a “shock and awe” campaign of airstrikes on 19 March 2003 - before dawn the following day in Iraq.
The military action quickly ousted Saddam Hussein but led to years of bloodshed as Sunni and Shiite militants battled coalition forces and each other, leaving more than 100,000 Iraqis killed.
Today’s apparently coordinated attacks included car bombs and explosives stuck to the underside of vehicles. They targeted government security forces and mainly Shiite areas, small restaurants, labourers and bus stops over a span of more than two hours, according to police and hospital officials.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts, but they bore hallmarks of al-Qaida in Iraq. The terror group, which favors car bombs and coordinated bombings intended to undermine public confidence in the government, has sought to reassert its presence in recent weeks.
The violence started at around 8 am, when a bomb exploded outside a popular restaurant in Baghdad’s Mashtal neighborhood, killing four people, according to police and hospital officials. It blew out the eatery’s windows and left several cars mangled in the blood-streaked street.
Minutes later, a roadside bomb hit a gathering point for day laborers in the New Baghdad area, killing two of them.
The sprawling Shiite slum district of Sadr City was hit by three explosions that killed 10 people, including three commuters on a minibus.
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