Bombings across Iraq kill over 35 a day after assault on Sunni mosque
BAGHDAD: Bombings across Iraq killed at least 35
people in attacks that appeared to be revenge for an assault on a Sunni mosque
that has deepened sectarian conflict. A bomb also exploded in the northern city
of Arbil on Saturday, a rare attack unsettling the relative stability the
capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region has enjoyed.
Local television footage showed fire-fighters dousing
the charred remains of a car in Arbil.
In Baghdad, a bomber rammed a vehicle into an
intelligence headquarters, killing at least eight people, police and medical
sources said. Near Tikrit, a suicide bomber driving a military Humvee packed
with explosives attacked a gathering of soldiers and Shi’ite militias
overnight, killing nine.
Shi’ite militiamen machine gunned 68 worshippers at a
village mosque in Diyala Province on Friday as politicians try to form a
power-sharing government capable of countering Islamic State militants.
An advance by Islamic State through northern Iraq has
alarmed the Baghdad government and its Western allies and drawn US airstrikes
in Iraq for the first time since the withdrawal of American troops in 2011.
Although the air campaign has caused a few setbacks
for Islamic State, they do not address the far broader problem of sectarian
warfare which the group has fuelled with attacks on Shi’ites.
Bombings, kidnappings and execution-style shootings
occur almost daily, echoing the dark days of 2006-2007, the peak of a sectarian
civil war. In addition to the Arbil attack, three bombings that appeared to
target Kurdish forces killed 18 people in the city of Kirkuk, 250 km north of
Baghdad, security sources said.
Islamic State routed Kurdish forces in its latest
advance through the north. Two of Iraq’s most influential Sunni politicians
suspended participation in talks on forming a new government after the
militiamen carried out the mosque attack.
Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq and Parliament
Speaker Salim al-Jibouri have pulled out of talks with the main Shi’ite
alliance until the results of an investigation into the killings are announced.
Jibouri, a moderate Sunni, condemned both Islamic
State as well as the Iranian-trained Shi’ite militias who Sunnis say kidnap and
kill members of their sect with impunity.
“We will not allow them to exploit disturbed security
in the country to undermine the political process. We believe the political
process should move on,” he told a news conference on Saturday.