Bridge reflects Iraq's unity hopes

Many see link between Sunni and Shia districts of Baghdad as symbol of peaceful coexistence.

    Nouri Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister has been warning against what he calls an attempted coup through ballot boxes.
    He is happy with a recount ordered by the country's electoral commission, a process due to begin on Monday and last two weeks.
    However, many fear that the intervening political vacuum could provoke more sectarian and religious division.
    In the latest attack, eight people were killed and 20 others wounded on Thursday when a car bomb exploded near an alcohol store in Baghdad, according to an interior ministry official.
    A symbol of Iraq's sectarian divide is the Imam's bridge in Baghdad, which links the Sunni Muslim neighbourhood of Adhamiya to the Shia Muslim district of Kadhimiya.
    Five years ago the bridge was closed after 1,000 people were killed in a stampede during a Shia Muslim procession. The crowd had panicked after rumours of a suicide bomber.
    The bridge was reopened in December 2008 and Iraqis hope it will remain open to symbolise the peaceful coexistence they are trying to build.
    Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna reports from Baghdad.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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