31 dead in Iraq bombings and raids
on 27/10/2012 21:44:49
The bloodshed underscored the difficulties facing Iraq's leadership as it struggles to keep its citizens safe.
Security had been increased in hopes of preventing attacks during the four-day Eid al-Adha celebrations, when people are off work and families gather in public places.
The deadliest blast happened on the outskirts of Baghdad and struck near playground equipment that had been set up for the holiday in a market in the eastern neighbourhood of Bawiya.
Police said eight people were killed, including four children. Another 24 people, including children, were wounded.
"Nobody expected this explosion because our neighbourhood has been living in peace, away from the violence hitting the rest of the capital," said Bassem Mohammed, a 35-year-old father of three.
"We feel sad for the children who thought that they would spend a happy time during Eid, but instead ended up getting killed or hurt."
Elsewhere, a bomb attached to a bus carrying Iranian Shiite pilgrims killed five people and wounded nine, police said.
The bomb, hidden on the underside of the bus, detonated as the pilgrims were heading to a Shiite shrine in Baghdad to mark the holiday.
Authorities have said they planned to increase the number of checkpoints, shut some roads and deploy extra personnel during the holiday period.
They are also relying more on undercover intelligence agents, said Lieutenant Colonel Saad Maan Ibrahim, a spokesman for the interior ministry.
He emphasised that both bombings took place on the edge of the capital rather than in densely populated areas.
"The terrorists apparently weren't able to get to the heart of the city. So they chose to attack soft targets on the outskirts," he said.
In the northern city of Mosul, gunmen broke into the houses of two Shabak families, killing a boy and his parents in one and a mother and daughter in the other, police said.
A bomb exploded near the house of another Shabak family, wounding six family members.
Shabaks are ethnically Turkomen and Shiite by religion. Most Shabaks were driven out of Mosul by Sunni militants during the sectarian fighting a few years ago.
In Tuz Khormato, about 210km (130 miles) north of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded near a neighbourhood with a Turkomen Shiite majority. Mayor Shalal Abdoul said 11 people were wounded, including three children.
Tonight, police said a car bomb explosion near a market in the Shiite neighbourhood of Sadr city killed seven people and wounded 15 others. Half an hour later, a second car bomb went off in one of Sadr city's bus stations, killing six people.
Medics in nearby hospitals confirmed the casualties.
Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, is a major Muslim holiday that commemorates what Muslims believe was the Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail, the Biblical Ishmael, as a test of his faith from God. Christians and Jews believe another of Abraham's sons, Isaac, was the one almost sacrificed.
The holiday, which began on Friday, marks the end of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims worldwide typically slaughter lambs and other animals to commemorate the holiday, sharing some of the meat with the poor.
Violence has ebbed across Iraq, but insurgents frequently attack security forces and civilians in an attempt to undermine the country's Shiite-led government.
Holidays are a particular time of concern for security forces. A wave of attacks shortly before another Muslim holiday in August, Eid al-Fitr, killed more than 90 people in one of the deadliest days in Iraq this year.