[QODLink]
Middle East
Scores die in Iraq bomb blasts
Attacks in Baghdad and near northern city of Mosul leave more than 50 people dead.
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2009 11:27 GMT

The bomb in Baghdad's western Amil district exploded near a group of day-labourers [AFP]

More than 50 people have been killed and at least 286 others wounded in a series of bombings near the northern city of Mosul and in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, officials have said.

In the deadliest attack, two lorries packed with explosives blew up simultaneously on Monday in the predominantly Shia village of Khazna, 20km north of Mosul.

At least 35 people were killed and 200 others wounded in the attack, police and hospital officials said.

"I was sleeping on the roof and I woke up as if there was an earthquake. After that I saw a plume of smoke and dust spreading everywhere," Mohammed Kadhem, a Khazna resident, told the AFP news agency.

"A minute later another bomb went off, knocking me off the roof onto the ground. I was struck unconscious by shrapnel and stones," he said.

Minorities 'suffering' 

The blast also levelled more than 30 houses in the village.

The village is home to members of the Shabak community, a Shia minority group, outside of Mosul, a predominately Sunni city with significant Christian and Shia minorities.

In depth


 Video: Deadly bombings strike Iraq
 Video: Maliki says US forces may stay beyond 2011
 Focus: Iraqi public key to security deal
 Focus: Awakening councils key to security?
 Focus: Iraqi security situation 'tenuous'
 Focus: The scramble for Iraq's 'sweet oil'
 Inside Iraq

Khanza, which is under the control of Kurdish peshmerga forces, also lies on the southern edge of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Hunain Qaddu, an Iraqi member of parliament representing the Shabak, said the peshmerga have never been able to protect his community.

"We are suffering at the hands of the peshmerga," Qaddu told Al Jazeera.

"They are probably indirectly responsible for the attacks because they have rejected the idea of establishing a security force from the inhabitant people.

"We would ask the Iraqi government to deploy the Iraqi forces in our area ... to protect all Iraqi minorities whether they are Shabak or Turkmen or Christian."

Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, has promised to protect minorities, as have the opposition Change list, which gained ground in recent elections.

But Qaddu said he does not trust these claims.

"The only party you can trust is the government security forces, the force which really is connected to the Iraqi central government and not to the political parties."

Baghdad blast

In a separate attack in the Amil district of western Baghdad on Monday, seven people were killed and 46 others injured after a bomb exploded near a gathering of day-labourers waiting on the street.

The blast was followed by a similar attack on labourers and construction workers in the nearby Shurta district of western Baghdad.

That blast left nine people dead and 40 others wounded.

The government ordered a number of barriers removed last week [REUTERS]

The attacks come a day after Iraqi forces began dismantling a number of protective barriers around Baghdad.

The government had ordered the concrete blast walls removed in an effort to restore a sense of normalcy and assure Iraqis that the security situation was improving in the country.

It announced last week that the barriers, which were put in place to protect markets, banks, buildings and major roads from suicide bombers and other attacks, would be dismantled within 40 days.

Attacks in Iraq remain common, raising doubts about the ability of Iraqi security forces to stand alone following the pull back of US forces from the country's major cities and towns at the end of June.

Tahsin Sheikhly, the civil spokesman for Baghdad security, said Monday's attacks indicated that security remains a challenge for Iraqi authorities.

"The insurgency in Iraq has waned in the last 18 months, except bombs in Mosul and a few other areas," he told Al Jazeera.

"We believe that the enemy of Iraq is still trying to do something terrible to the security situation here in Iraq, especially in Baghdad, because it is the key for Iraq's security."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Craft breweries see rising sales, challenging large corporations for a bigger taste of Mexico's $20bn beer market.
Students kept from using screen-based technology for five days showed improvement in recognizing emotion, US study says.
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
join our mailing list