Terrorist attacks in Iraq kill dozens as religous festival gets underway
A series of coordinated attacks have taken place across Iraq on Wednesday morning. Seven provinces were affected by the violence, including Baghdad. The most lethal attack (a car bomb explosion against a pilgrim rest stop in the east of the capital) reportedly killed 40 civilians and flattened dozens of buildings in the area. In the provinces of Salluhdin, Anbar, Babil, Karbala and Wassit, extremists targeted predominately Shiite areas with car bombs, mortar attacks and roadside bombs. In the Tamim province, two KDP offices were the subject of car bomb attacks, indicating an intent by extremists to further polarise the community where ethnic and political tensions remain high. Approximate casualty figures from this morning’s violence have yet to be corroborated, but initial reports suggest over 70 were killed and at least the same amount wounded. A number of areas were put under curfew as a knee jerk reaction to the potential for further violence.
Amongst tight security measures it seems extremist/insurgent groups have again managed to pervade checkpoints and areas of additional security to subversively target pilgrims and places of religious/political importance. Additionally, and after an almost monthly attack cycle of disproportionate violence since the beginning of the year, extremists have managed to emphasize the utter futility of Iraq’s counter-terrorism forces. Its failure - a by-product of the dysfunctional architecture and poor communication between these units - is furthermore apparent after a recent mass casualty attack in the capital only last week. Such violence is presumably intended to invite a conflagration against PM Maliki from his Shiite support base at a time when the premier is garnering grassroots support for next year’s elections.