46 killed, almost 300 injured in series of attacks in Single Day in Iraq

IRAQ-UNRESTJNN 16 Apr 2013 Baghdad : A string of attacks in several parts of Iraq killed 46 and injured almost 300 on Monday. The upsurge of violence came as Iraqis prepare to go to polls for their first election since the withdrawal of US troops.

Officials said bombings hit 12 different areas of Iraq, leaving 46 people dead and making Monday the country’s deadliest day since March 19, AFP reported.

According to Itar-Tass, the death toll has already risen to 55 people.

Ten casualties were reported in Baghdad, and insurgents also targeted areas north and south of the capital. The oil-rich city of Kirkuk, where tensions over resources have recently been particularly high, saw nine of its residents killed. The western Sunni city of Fallujah, the former Al-Qaeda stronghold of Baqouba and Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit also saw attacks.

Most of Monday’s deadly attacks were car bombings, including two blasts at Baghdad airport.

“Two vehicles managed to reach the entrance of Baghdad airport and were left parked there. While we were doing routine searches, the two cars exploded seconds apart. Two passengers travelling to the airport were killed,” a police source said, cited Reuters.

Witnesses blamed authorities for being unable to provide adequate security: “I blame those who call themselves politicians in government [and] the security forces… for this bad security situation. They are doing nothing to help the people, and are only looking out for their benefits,” Qassim Saad, a teacher in Baghdad and witness to one of the blasts told AP

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombings yet, but the attacks closely resemble those carried out by Al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch.

The legacy of the US-led invasion of Iraq appears to be growing instability and conflict among ethnic and religious groups. The situation has worsened recently, with Wahabi terrorists inside the country violently opposing the Shia-led government, and drawing support from al-Nusra Front rebels fighting in Syria.

Iraqi officials quoted by AP said that insurgents inside the country have increased their coordination with militants fighting in Syria to topple President Bashar Assad, and have been arming themselves through the now-highly-insecure Syria-Iraq border.  A reported 270 Iraqis were killed in insurgent attacks in March alone.

Local elections, which are scheduled to take place later this week, are the first since US troops left the country in 2011, and are widely seen as a test of the legitimacy of the ruling political bloc, headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. But the violence, which has peaked in recent months, undermines the party’s stance.

Two Sunni politicians were killed this past weekend, and the entire pre-election campaign has seen dozens of candidates lose their lives. The almost daily blasts the country has witnessed ahead of the elections has sparked concerns that many will abstain from voting for fear of being attacked, and the election will not be valid.

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