Karbala blasts kill 20, injure dozens

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Iraq
Sunday, 25 September 2011


shiitenews karbala blasts 20Four bomb explosions have rocked the southern Iraqi city of Karbala, killing at least 25 people and wounding dozens more, Shiite News reports.Government officials said a total of four explosions struck the city of Karbala around 10 a.m. in a steady drumbeat over a five-minute period, meaning they likely were coordinated.

Black smoke rose over an Interior Ministry office in Karbala that issues ID cards and that was targeted by two

Three government officials from Karbala — provincial councilmen Mohammed al-Moussawi and Hussein Shadhan al-Aboudi, and parliamentarian Jawad Kadim al-Hassnawi — said 20 people martyred in the blasts. The number of wounded people ranged from 40 to as high as 90. Conflicting casualty tolls are common in the confusion that immediately follows large attacks in Iraq.

“The aim of these explosions is to ignite the sectarian sedition after the killing 22 of Karbala residents in the Anbar desert two weeks ago,” al-Aboudi said. “They also aim to destabilize the security situation in Karbala.”

He was referring to a Sept. 12 strike on a bus of Shiite pilgrims from Karbala that was hijacked in Iraq’s Sunni-dominated Anbar province as it headed to a shrine in Damascus, Syria. Gunmen dressed in military-style uniforms ordered 22 men off the bus and executed them in a remote desert area near the highway.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been trying to tamp down tensions between officials in Karbala and Anbar since the hijacking. Four suspects are being held in the case, and al-Maliki’s military advisers say at least some foreigners were among the plotters.

Karbala is a major holy city and a pilgrimage center located 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the capital Baghdad, is one of the holiest cities in Muslim Shiism because Imam Hussain (as) and his companions are buried there. 

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the latest attacks in the war-torn Iraq. 

Raed al-Assali, a government employee in the Karbala Investment Council, said he was sitting in his office doing paperwork when he heard the booms.

“I rushed to rooftop of our building and I saw thick smoke rising from the blast area,” al-Assali said. “Some people in panic were running in the nearby alleys in order to escape fire and danger.”

Al-Assali noted growing tensions and fear by Karbala residents that they are being targeted by Sunni insurgents.

“There’s a feeling here that some groups are trying to ignite sectarian sedition by targeting Karbala after the crisis with Anbar,” he said, referring to the slaying of the pilgrims.

The Iraqi government has condemned the attacks and officials in Karbala have opened an investigation into the incidents. 

Daily bombing attacks, roadside bombs, and shootings have been rampant in Iraq since the US-led invasion of the oil-rich country began in 2003. 

"> bombs. Another blast hit near a house, cratering its walls and ceiling. And at least one explosion detonated about a half-mile from the city’s gold-domed shrine to Imam Abbas.

Three government officials from Karbala — provincial councilmen Mohammed al-Moussawi and Hussein Shadhan al-Aboudi, and parliamentarian Jawad Kadim al-Hassnawi — said 20 people martyred in the blasts. The number of wounded people ranged from 40 to as high as 90. Conflicting casualty tolls are common in the confusion that immediately follows large attacks in Iraq.

“The aim of these explosions is to ignite the sectarian sedition after the killing 22 of Karbala residents in the Anbar desert two weeks ago,” al-Aboudi said. “They also aim to destabilize the security situation in Karbala.”

He was referring to a Sept. 12 strike on a bus of Shiite pilgrims from Karbala that was hijacked in Iraq’s Sunni-dominated Anbar province as it headed to a shrine in Damascus, Syria. Gunmen dressed in military-style uniforms ordered 22 men off the bus and executed them in a remote desert area near the highway.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been trying to tamp down tensions between officials in Karbala and Anbar since the hijacking. Four suspects are being held in the case, and al-Maliki’s military advisers say at least some foreigners were among the plotters.

Karbala is a major holy city and a pilgrimage center located 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the capital Baghdad, is one of the holiest cities in Muslim Shiism because Imam Hussain (as) and his companions are buried there. 

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the latest attacks in the war-torn Iraq. 

Raed al-Assali, a government employee in the Karbala Investment Council, said he was sitting in his office doing paperwork when he heard the booms.

“I rushed to rooftop of our building and I saw thick smoke rising from the blast area,” al-Assali said. “Some people in panic were running in the nearby alleys in order to escape fire and danger.”

Al-Assali noted growing tensions and fear by Karbala residents that they are being targeted by Sunni insurgents.

“There’s a feeling here that some groups are trying to ignite sectarian sedition by targeting Karbala after the crisis with Anbar,” he said, referring to the slaying of the pilgrims.

The Iraqi government has condemned the attacks and officials in Karbala have opened an investigation into the incidents. 

Daily bombing attacks, roadside bombs, and shootings have been rampant in Iraq since the US-led invasion of the oil-rich country began in 2003. 

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