Wave of bombs in Baghdad

At least 85 people are killed in a series of bombings over two days in Baghdad starting on 23 April, over a two hour time span, a wave of coordinated bombings hit sand blacks leaving Friday prayers, Shiite neighborhoods, and a market.

The attacks were comprised of five car bombs, which accounted for 58 deaths, and approximately 13 bombs in total. A car bomb outside the Abdel Hadi al-Chalabi mosque in Al-Hurriya killed five and wounded 14.

Three bombs, including two car bombs, in the Sadr City district of Baghdad occurred near the headquarters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, where followers gather for morning prayers every Friday. The bombings killed at least 39 and wounded 56 others in Sadr City.

A car bomb and a suicide bomber in the Al-Ameen district in east Baghdad killed 11 worshipers leaving a Shiite mosque after prayers and wounded 23 additional people.

Five homemade bombs were also detonated in the predominately Sunni Anbar Province killing seven and injuring 11. A police officer responding to the bombings was killed by a roadside bomb. A cluster of houses were damaged in the attack. It is believed that the bombs were targeted at a police detective and a judge, both of whom survived, who live in the area. Late on 24 April, the official death toll from the Friday attacks stood at 72. Around 120 people were wounded.

On 24 April, 13 additional people were killed when three bombs were detonated in Western Baghdad. The three bombs, which were hidden in plastic bags, injured 25 additional people. The three bombs exploded simultaneously in a billiard hall located in a mixed Sunni-Shiite neighbourhood.

Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and other officials have blamed Al-Qaeda in Iraq for the bombing attacks. The attacks were widely seen as retribution for the killings of two top Al-Qaeda officials the previous Sunday. Security spokesperson Qassim al-Moussawi stated that “targeting prayers in areas with a [Shiite] majority is a revenge for the losses suffered by al Qaeda.”

Iraqi political analyst Hameed Fadhel agreed, saying, “These are acts of revenge that are intended to send a message to the Iraqi government and the world that al-Qaida’s existence will not be affected by the killing of specific leaders.” No one has officially claimed responsibility. The government expects “such terrorist acts to continue.”

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