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Wave Of Bombings Hits Iraq

  • RFE/RL

There have been bombings in Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Erbil as violence intensifies across Iraq.

A suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden vehicle into the outer perimeter of the Interior Ministry complex on August 23 targeting the intelligence headquarters there.

At least eight people were reported killed and 24 wounded when the bomber detonated his explosives.

Hours later, three nearly simultaneous explosions happened in the northern city of Kirkuk.

Two of the bombs hit buildings that were under construction but reportedly were being used as lookout posts by security forces. The other explosion happened near the entrance to a market.

Reports said at least 15 people were killed in those attacks.

A bomb also exploded in the city of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region. There were no reports on casualties yet.

There was an attack near Tikrit late on August 22 when a Humvee loaded with explosives targeted a gathering of soldiers and Shi'ite militia.

That violence followed the August 22 massacre at a Sunni mosque in the village of Imam Wais near Baquba that killed 68 people.

Iraqi officials say they are investigating the attack.

Parliament speaker Salim al-Jaburi, a Sunni, told the media in Baghdad that a committee of security officials and lawmakers would announce the results of the investigation by August 25.

Jaburi said the attack was carried out by "the same hands [of those] who want to derail the process of building the government."

The massacre in the Imam Wais village near Baquba has raised sectarian tensions in Iraq and led two Sunni political blocs to withdraw from talks on forming a new government with Prime Minister-designate Haidar al-Abadi.

Violence in Iraq has grown worse since militants from the extremist Islamic State group drove into Iraq from Syria, capturing large swaths of western and northern Iraq.

The Sunni extremist group has executed large numbers of Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims as well as followers of different minority religions, such as the Yazidis, Christians, and Shi'ites.

The United Nations on August 23 warned that a Shi'ite Turkoman community in an Iraqi city besieged by Islamic State fighters since June is at risk of being massacred.

The town of Amerli, north of Baghdad, has been totally cut off from the rest of government–held territory.

UN Iraq envoy Nickolay Mladenov said in a statement, "The situation of the people in Amerli is desperate and demands immediate action to prevent the possible massacre of its citizens."

Mladenov called on the Iraqi government, Iraq's allies, and the international community to "prevent a human rights tragedy."

Iraq's most powerful Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, on August 22 called for efforts to break the siege of Amerli and "save its peoples from the dangers of terrorists."

Iraqi Army Colonel Mustafa al-Bayati said government forces were gathering both north and south of Amerli preparing to push back the Islamic State militants from the area.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia announced it will host a meeting of foreign ministers from Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates on August 24 to address the "growing presence" of extremists in Syria and Iraq, particularly the Islamic State militants.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
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