Suicide blast targets Iraqi interior ministry

Policeman among victims of car bombing in central Baghdad amid crisis over order seeking vice-president's arrest.

    A security cordon outside the interior ministry building in Baghdad bore the brunt of Monday's suicide car bombing

    At least seven people have been killed, including one police officer, and 39 others injured in an attack in Iraq by a suicide car bomber on the country's interior ministry in central Baghdad, police sources tell Al Jazeera.

    They said 14 of those wounded in Monday's attack in the Iraqi capital were police officers.

    The bomber drove his vehicle into a security cordon outside the ministry building, detonating explosives that left dead and wounded on the ground and set ablaze vehicles nearby, reports said.

    A wave of explosions on Thursday killed at least 72 people in Baghdad in the first such attacks since tensions sharply escalated between Iraq's Shia Muslim-led government and political parties representing Sunni Muslims, just days after the last US troops withdrew.

    About a week ago, Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, sought the arrest of Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, and asked parliament to dismiss the deputy prime minister, Saleh al-Mutlaq, who is also Sunni.

    A senior police source said authorities believed anti-government fighters were targeting the interior ministry because of the announcement of the arrest warrant for Hashemi.

    Hashemi has left Baghdad for semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, where he is unlikely to be handed over to central government officials immediately.

    The crisis threatens to undermine an uneasy power-sharing government that splits posts among the Shia-dominated National Alliance coalition, the mostly Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc and the Kurdish political movement.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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