At least 33 people have been killed and 56 others wounded in a series of bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, officals have said.
The seven car bombs on Thursday hit different areas of Baghdad, two of them are Shia majority, and another a mix of Sunni and Shia Muslims, according to police officals.
Mohammed Sabri, a retired government employee, was on his way to the market in Husseiniyah when he heard the explosion.
|US-Iraq negotiations amid violence|
“I got closer and saw burning cars, two charred bodies and several people on the ground,” he said. “Security officials keep telling us that their forces are able to protect us, but this has not happened yet.”
One of explosions happened 200-300 metres outside of the capital’s “Green Zone” diplomatic complex. It killed four and wounded 12 people, the sources said without giving details.
The zone is a highly-fortified area housing Western embassies including the US mission. Area of explosion is also close to Iraqi Foreign Ministry which has been a frequent target of attacks.
Iraq is experiencing some of its worst violence since US troops left 18 months ago, with Sunni fighters including al-Qaeda waging against the Shia-led government.
Fear of civil war
Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan said most authorities in Iraqi government have been finger-pointing one group, a group calling itself al-Qaeda in Iraq, adding that there has been no claims of responsibility so far.
“Timing is very interesting, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gave a speech on state TV on Wednesday night,” Khan said.
Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for similar attacks in the past week in which scores of civilians were killed during Eid celebrations marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki promised to hunt down those behind the wave of Ramadan attacks.
“The operations we have started to go after the terrorist gangs and those who stand behind them will continue unabated,” Maliki said in a short television speech.
Iraqi security forces have imposed tight security measures in and around the capital since two brazen jailbreaks in July, but so far these measures have failed to stop the attacks.
Attacks have been on the rise in Iraq since a deadly security crackdown in April on a Sunni protest camp.
Nearly 4,000 people have been killed in violence from the beginning of the year, raising fears Iraq could see a new round of widespread sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war during 2006 and 2007.