Friday, April 19, 2013

Baghdad suicide bomb causes carnage

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At least 26 people die in attack carried out on eve of provincial elections in Iraq

A suicide bomber detonated explosives at a Baghdad cafe crowded with young people late on Thursday, killing at least 26 people and wounding dozens in the runup to provincial elections scheduled for the weekend.

The cafe bomber struck about 9.30pm, a rare evening attack, bringing the number of people killed across the country on Thursday to 30.

Police said two children and a woman who were passing by at the time of the blast were among the dead. More than 50 people were wounded.

The cafe, on the third floor of a building in the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Amiriyah, was packed with young people enjoying water pipes and playing pool.

Earlier in the day, a car bomb struck an army convoy in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, killing three soldiers and wounding five others. Hours later, a policeman was killed and three others were wounded when gunmen attacked a security checkpoint in western Baghdad, police said.

Violence has been rising during the approach to Saturday's provincial elections for officials in several provinces, including the capital.

Also on Thursday, Iraq's self-ruled Kurdish region announced that new parliamentary and presidential elections would be held on 21 September.

A Kurdish government statement said Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdish region, approved the date and called for a fair election.

Following the invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, the Kurdish area was recognised as an autonomous region that is politically independent from Baghdad in many ways . Since then, the two main Kurdish parties – the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Democratic Party of Kurdistan – have joined forces to rule the oil-rich region.

Baghdad and the Kurds have been at loggerheads for years over several issues, including oil and control over disputed areas claimed by both sides. The vote for a new 111-seat national assembly will be the third election in the three-province Kurdish region since 2005. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Warren Murray, Matthew Weaver, Paul Owen 19 Apr, 2013

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