String of bombings threatens relative calm in Iraq


Trenton Daniel and Leith Hammoudi
McClatchy Newspapers
February 12, 2009

BAGHDAD — More than a dozen Iraqis were killed and 43 were wounded Wednesday in back-to-back car bombings at a bus station in a Shiite Muslim neighborhood in south Baghdad , police said.

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The bombings were part of bloody day in which at least 22 people died in attacks throughout Iraq , breaking a relative calm that the country has enjoyed in recent months.

The attacks came a little more than a week after Iraq held provincial elections in 14 of its 18 provinces. Election officials are expected to release final results in the coming weeks.

Around 3 p.m. Wednesday , bombs in a parked car and a van detonated in the crowded bus depot in the Bayaa neighborhood, killing 16 civilians and wounding 43 others, police said. The area is a popular shopping destination.

The U.S.-led Multi-National Corps in Iraq put the death toll in a second depot attack at eight dead and 33 injured.

“We heard a big explosion and there was a big cloud of smoke,” said Abo Ali al Taee, 41, owner of a shop near the market in south Baghdad . “It was raining shrapnel.”

Right after the blast, Taee said, he heard a woman screaming, “I lost my four brothers. I can’t find them!”

Fearing more bombings, Taee fled. When he got home, his neighbor was sobbing. Her sons and a few relatives were among the injured.

“Thank God they were only injured,” Taee said.

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