A Raft of Car Bombings shake Iraq

A spate of car bombings rocked Iraq on Tuesday on the ninth anniversary of the U.S. invasion.

The violence left at least 21 dead and 140 injured officials said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts that one senior interior ministry official described as “coordinated” and blamed on al Qaeda.

The official said the attacks were meant to send a message that the militant group — despite gains made by Iraqi security forces — is still able to carry out daily attacks.

Attacks took place in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Karbala, Hilla, Tikrit, Baiji, and Falluja.

Some of them targeted police or government facilities.

In central Falluja, a pregnant woman was killed and her 6-year-old child wounded when insurgents planted bombs around a house belonging to a police officer, police in the city said, as reported to BBC.

In Tikrit, a car bombing outside a school wounded four teachers. The attack in Hilla targeted a juvenile detention center; two attacks in Karbala targeted police stations; and a parked car exploded in front of the foreign ministry in Baghdad, officials said.

The highest death toll came from two car bomb attacks in Kirkuk — a multi-ethnic city about 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Baghdad — that killed 11 people.

Iraqi officials have expressed concern that the continuing violence could cast a shadow as the country prepares to host the next Arab League summit on March 29.

The attacks on Tuesday come nine years to the day that a U.S.-led army invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003, toppling longtime dictator Saddam Hussein.

The United States argued Hussein’s regime had been harboring forbidden stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, long-range missiles and a nuclear weapons program.

Inspectors later found that Baghdad had attempted to conceal some weapons-related research from the international community, but that Iraq had been effectively disarmed under U.N. sanctions in the 1990s.

The invasion swiftly toppled Hussein, who was later executed for the massacre of Shiite villagers following an assassination attempt in the 1980s.

But years of bloodshed followed the invasion as an insurgency led by Hussein’s allies took root, followed by sectarian warfare between Iraq’s Shiite majority and Sunni minority.

Nearly 4,500 Americans and 300-plus allied troops were killed before the last American troops left in December, while estimates of the Iraqi toll run well above 100,000.

 

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