January 14, 2012 — Updated 1824 GMT (0224 HKT)STORY HIGHLIGHTS
- NEW: Iraqi president and U.S. Embassy condemn the attack
- The incident is the deadliest attack on Shiites since U.S. completed withdrawal
- The death toll has climbed to at least 53 killed, ministry says
- The bomber struck at a police checkpoint outside the city of Basra, officials say
Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) — A suicide bomber disguised as a policeman targeted Shiite pilgrims Saturday outside the southern Iraqi city of Basra, killing at least 53 people and wounding 137, the Interior Ministry said.
The blast was the single deadliest attack on the Shiite community since the U.S. military completed its troops withdrawal from Iraq. A January 5 suicide attack on Shiite pilgrims west of the southern city of Nasiriya killed 44.
Saturday’s bomber struck a police checkpoint near a Shiite mosque where many of the pilgrims were headed to mark a revered holy day, the end of a 40-day mourning period known as Arbaeen, Interior Ministry officials said.
President Jalal Talabani called on security forces to beef up their efforts in protecting the war-torn country.
“In a new attempt to incite sectarian sedition and drive the country to the brink of civil war and to terrorize the people , the terrorist forces have committed a series of heinous crimes that have targeted Imam Hussain pilgrims,” Talabani said.
BAGHDAD — Militiamen and followers of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr led a massive rally on Thursday, marching in Baghdad in a show of force as Iraqi leaders weigh whether to keep U.S. troops in the country beyond the end of the year. Continue reading
26/01/2011By Ma’ad Fayad
London, Asharq Al-Awsat � Well informed Iraqi sources in the Shiite holy cities of Najaf and Qom have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the leader of the Sadrist movement, Moqtada al-Sadr, who returned to Iran after spending only two weeks in Iraq, left after receiving threats from the Asaib Ahl al-Haq group, and due to fears that the arrest warrant, issued against him against the backdrop of the assassination of Shiite cleric Abdul Majid al-Khoei in April 2003, would be enforced.
Informed sources in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf disclosed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “those observing what is happening did not expect al-Sadr to remain in the city of Najaf for long, because of rumours about serious threats being issued against him by the Asaib Ahl al-Haq group. The Asaib Ahl al-Haq group is said to have issued a statement declaring the killing of Moqtada al-Sadr lawful. This statement was then distributed to some residents of Najaf, who subsequently detailed its content to the leader of the Sadrist movement.” Continue reading
Iranian interference remains a threat to stability in Iraq.
"I think ultimately Iraqi nationalism will trump Iranian meddling."
In recent weeks, there have been reasons to believe the Iraqi people will see a future shaped by their own determination to forge a strong and unified Iraq, and not by those who would deny them the chance for peace, freedom and security.
The Associated Press
Date: Friday Apr. 23, 2010 1:13 PM ET
BAGHDAD — A series of bombings mainly targeting Shiite worshippers killed at least 60 people on Friday, officials said, just days after U.S. and Iraqi forces killed the top two al Qaeda leaders in Iraq in what was described as devastating blow to the insurgency.
The apparently coordinated attack, which occurred in a two-hour timespan, demonstrated insurgents remain a potent force despite U.S. and Iraqi claims that the terror network is on the run.
Officials have warned insurgents remain capable of staging high-profile bombings in a bid to reignite sectarian tensions that pushed the country to the brink of civil war
The killings of al-Qaeda‘s top leaders in Iraq during an overnight operation carried out by US and Iraqi forces are “potentially devastating blows” to the terrorist network in the country, US Vice President Joe Biden said Monday, dpa reported.
US and Iraqi authorities confirmed that Abu Ayyub al-Masri, al- Qaeda’s top figurehead in Iraq, along with senior leader Sheikh Abu Omar al-Baghdadi were killed near Tikrit in Salah al-Din province.
Biden attributed the success to improved capabilities of Iraqi security forces and said the operation was based on intelligence gathered by the Iraqis following the arrest of another al-Qaeda leader last month.
“Their deaths are potentially devastating blows to al Qaeda- Iraq,” Biden said, calling it an “extremely important” development.