Deadly bombings continue across Iraq

At least 20 people killed and scores injured in blasts in capital and beyond amid escalating sectarian violence.

Attacks in Iraq have killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 100 others, a day after a series of bombings killed 77 people across the country, officials have said.

In the latest incident, a car bomb exploded near a Sunni mosque on Tuesday in the Abu Ghraib area of western Baghdad, killing at least five people and injuring 21.

Earlier, a suicide bomber set off his explosives-laden vest at a military checkpoint in the town of Tarmiyah, 50km north of Baghdad.

Fighters opened fire at the troops after the blasts, killing three soldiers and wounding nine, a police official said.

Meanwhile, in the northern city of Tuz Khormato, two parked car bombs went off simultaneously, killing three civilians and wounding 38 people, said Mayor Shalal Abdool.

Amid continued violence, the Iraqi parliament called off an emergency session to address the latest wave of violent attacks, after failing to achieve a quorum, Al Jazeera’s Omar al-Saleh, reporting from Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan region, said.

Our correspondent said that parliamentary members loyal to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s boycotted the meeting.

“It really tells you how dysfunctional the state is, and how the political in-fighting between this country’s leaders has reached a deadlock,” Saleh said.

“The Iraqi people will tell you that the government as well as the political leaders are to blame, because everytime they disagree on something, that disagreement translates into bloodshed and escalation into sectarian violence,” he said.

‘Sectarian war’

In Kirkuk, 290km north of the capital, three bombs exploded back-to-back at a sheep market, killing six people and wounding many more, police Colonel Taha Salaheddin said.

“I heard the explosions, but never thought this place would be targeted since these animals have nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with sect, nothing to do with ethnicity or religion,” Mahmoud Jumaa, whose cousin was killed in the multiple bombings, said.

More than 200 people have been killed in the past week in attacks, with both Sunni and Shia communities targeted.

Sectarian tensions have been worsening since Iraq’s minority Sunnis began expanding protests over what they say is mistreatment at the hands of Prime Minister Maliki’s mainly Shia-led government.

Hours after Monday’s bombings, Maliki accused armed groups of trying to exploit Iraq’s political instability and vowed to resist attempts to “bring back the atmosphere of the sectarian war”.

The Iraqi prime minister has announced plans to overhaul the country’s security strategy and personnel, and that the matter would be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Mass demonstrations by Sunnis, which began in December, have largely been peaceful. However, the number of attacks rose sharply after a deadly security crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in northern Iraq on April 23.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies