Middle East
Bombs hit Iraq political groups
At least 11 people are wounded in blasts that targeted offices of five parties in Baghdad.
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2010 03:41 GMT

The attacks come as of hundreds of candidates were barred from upcoming elections in Iraq [EPA]


A series of bombs have targeted political groups across Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, wounding at least 11 people, police officials say.

The bombs struck on Saturday night outside the offices or homes of leaders of at least five political groups, four of which were Sunni, two police officials said.

Three of the wounded work for a leading Sunni MP banned from Iraq's March 7 general election.

An interior ministry official said one of the bombs struck a campaign office of Saleh al-Mutlak, in the Sunni stronghold of Adhamiyah, barely 24 hours after he was disqualified from the vote on account of alleged links to the outlawed Baath party.

"An IED (improvised explosive device) exploded inside the electoral office," said Haider al-Mullah, a candidate from Mutlak’s party, the National Dialogue Front, part of a secular coalition contesting the election.

"It's a covert action against the Iraqi nationalist forces and particularly Mutlak. We warned before that there would be attacks against us," Mullah added.

The interior ministry official said four other bombs targeted secular political party offices. All five attacks occurred between 9pm and 10pm (18:00-19:00 GMT).

Electoral fever

The attacks came as tensions escalate between the Shia-led government and Sunnis, following the barring of hundreds of candidates from the elections because of ties to Saddam Hussein, the late president of Iraq.

Al-Mutlak was the number two candidate and top Sunni figure on Iyad Allawi's secular Iraqiya list, before being barred on Friday. Allawi was a former prime minister of Iraq.



  'Civilians killed' in Iraq shooting
  Riz Khan: Reopening sectarian wounds?
  Inside Iraq: Iraq's political wrangling
  In depth: The war within
  Civilian deaths anger Iraqis

Iraqiya said earlier on Saturday it was halting its campaign, after the decision to bar al-Mutlak and other members of its coalition.

"Iraqiya has decided to suspend its electoral campaign," Mayssun al-Damalduji, a spokeswoman for the party and a member of parliament, said.

Allawi and Jawad Bolani, also a secular list leader and currently the interior minister, are both trying to unseat Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, a Shia.

Al-Damalduji said Iraqiya was seeking a supreme court ruling as well as parliament to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the ban.

It has also requested a meeting with Jalal Talabani, the president, Iyad al-Samarrai, the parliament speaker, and al-Maliki "in the next three days to examine means of creating the best climate for the elections," she added.

"If we don't receive a reply, we will take a difficult decision," al-Damalduji said without further elaboration.

Official campaigning for the election started on Friday.

The electoral commission said on Saturday that 26 candidates were reinstated after being among the more than 500 banned from the vote, while 145 were disqualified, according to its final figures.

"The 26 are now able to campaign and we will inform their lists," Hamdiya al-Husseini, a senior commission official, told AFP news agency.

Husseini said among those eliminated were Mutlak and Dhafer al-Ani, another Sunni official.

A panel of judges had previously said barred candidates could stand on condition that their cases be examined after the polls and that they would eliminate them if they were found to be Baathists, but this ruling was reversed.

The vote, the second parliamentary ballot since Saddam was toppled, is seen as a test of reconciliation between the population’s Sunni minority and the Shia majority now represented by al-Maliki's government.

Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal is set to hear genocide charges for targeting ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslims.
join our mailing list