BBC, AL JAZEERA (Qatar), AFP
BAGHDAD — Coordinated bombings in Iraq’s capital of Baghdad killed at least 44 people and wounded 157 more Wednesday, the BBC reports. Aimed at the Shia Muslim community, bombs exploded during rush hour in most of the city’s Shia neighborhoods and in two mixed towns to its south.
A police source told Al Jazeera that explosions went off at more than 10 different locations, and that there were both car bombs and suicide attacks. The deadliest explosion was in the southeastern Bagdad neighborhood of Jisr al-Diyala, where a car bomb killed at least seven people.
No group claimed immediate responsibility for the attack, although Sunni Muslim militants linked to al-Qaeda frequently target Shia Muslims.
Tensions have increased between the two Sunni and Shia Muslim communities in Iraq in recent months, with the Sunnis — who represent about 30% of the country’s Muslim population — claiming that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shia-led government marginalizes them. Correspondents told the BBC that the deep-rooted sectarian tensions have also been aggravated by the civil war in neighboring Syria.
The United Nations released figures showing that July was one of Iraq’s deadliest months in years with 1,057 people killed, most of them civilians.
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Security personnel investigating at a car bombing site in the north of Baghdad in October 2012. Photo: Dina Asaad — Xinhua/ZUMA