At least 87 Iraqis were killed and 153 more were killed in a series of bombings across Baghdad. The most serious attack occurred at a funeral. If attacks occurred in other parts of the country, they went unreported, even in volatile Mosul.
Rumors concerning the sudden departure of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to Iran are circulating around Iraq. One involves Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — whom critics accuse of consolidating power — taking advantage of an old murder warrant against Sadr; however, when Sadr first returned to Najaf, it was rumored that the warrant had been dismissed thanks to the new alliance with Maliki. Another is an alleged death threat from the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militant group. More interestingly, Sadr is said to be considering a move to Lebanon to avoid coercion from Iranian officials.
In Baghdad, a car bomb killed as many as 80 people and wounded 121 more at a Shi’ite sheik’s funeral in the Shula neighborhood. The bombing triggered light clashing, mostly rock throwing, between enraged residents and police, whom mourners blamed for the lapse in security. Residents also blocked roads with burning tires. The army eventually was brought in to restore order. The bombing may be part of a new Shi’ite-Sunni militant alliance against the government. Shula had been a Sadrist stronghold, but is now allegedly controlled by Asaib Ahl al-Haq.
Elsewhere in Baghdad, a bomb left on a bus killed two and wounded seven others in Jihad. A bomb in Karrada killed a policeman and wounded seven others, including civilians. A blast targeting a Finance Ministry convoy in Waziriya killed a civilian and wounded four others. One person was killed and three others were wounded in a blast in Bab al-Muadham. In southern Baghdad, a civilian was killed and four others were wounded during a blast on Rashid Camp road. A blast also killed one person and wounded seven others near the Mashan compound.
The Mosul hydroelectric plant was forced to shut down due to low water levels on the Tigris River. Iraq is already experiencing power shortages, which have led to demonstrations as recently as 10 days ago and large-scale riots last summer.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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