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Iraq sees dangerous period as 60 die in new violence

2010-04-24 15:25 BJT

by Li Laifang, Shaalan Jubury

BAGHDAD, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Iraq is bracing for a most dangerous period as at least 60 people were killed in bomb attacks on Friday across the country amid a political deadlock following the March 7 general election -- the second since U.S.-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003.

A series of car bombs and roadside attacks mainly targeting Shiites during Friday prayers left 52 dead and scores more wounded. Eight died earlier Friday in western Anbar Province in multiple blasts.

The new wave of fatal violence came just five days after Iraqi and U.S. officials announced the killings of the top two leaders of al-Qaida network in Iraq in a joint raid. They had hailed their deaths as a heavy blow to the militants.

Friday's coordinated bombings undermined the recent achievements of Iraqi security forces in cracking down on militants. They showed terrorist groups remained capable of carrying out attacks to destabilize the country shattered by years of violence.

"The attacks bear the hallmark of al-Qaida. It is a reaction to the recent operations that killed its two top leaders," Sabah al- Shiekh, professor of politics at Baghdad University, told Xinhua.

The scholar expected similar attacks would continue here and there as al-Qaida would try to take advantage of the current political jockeying and security flaws.

Leading political blocs have been wrangling over the formation of new government. The initial results showed cross-sectarian Iraqia List led by Ayad Allawi, Iraq's interim prime minister in 2004 and 2005, won 91 seats, two more than that of Maliki's State of Law alliance.

A vote recount in Baghdad was ordered by an appeals court days ago. The move will complicate the situation and delay the process of government formation. Maliki, alleging frauds in vote count, has hoped his bloc could surpass Allawi's coalition in the number of parliament seats through the recount.

The Iraqi government has blamed the high-profile attacks on al- Qaida in Iraq and loyalists of the former Baath Party.

"The security situation is linked to politics, which is characteristic of new Iraq," said Shiekh. "The problem is that some politicians are trying to create a sectarian atmosphere so that they can achieve their own purposes at the expense of the interests of the Iraqi people."

He pointed out that parties may order other entities associated with them to create security problems on the streets.

Iraq is seeing a most dangerous period as various attacks, including three series of coordinated blasts, have left around 150 dead in Baghdad over the past three weeks.

"The delay of forming a government will worsen the security situation," Shiekh warned.

Editor: Zhang Ning | Source: Xinhua