Connect with us
Iraq Iraq

Middle East

Deadly car bombing rocks Iraq’s Baghdad

Attack in area full of used car dealers is the latest in renewed wave of mostly suicide blasts to strike Iraqi capital.

Published

on

A car packed with explosives has blown up in the south of Baghdad, killing at least 55 people and wounding dozens more.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack, which came amid a renewed wave of violence in the Iraqi capital.

Baghdad was rocked by a wave of deadly suicide bombings during the first days of 2017, but relatively few explosions had been reported since.

Security sources said the vehicle that blew up was parked in a crowded street full of garages and used car dealers, in Bayaa neighbourhood in the southwest of the city.

Iraqi officials said the bomb targeted car dealerships in the mostly Shia neighbourhood.

The site of the bombing was an open space used as a second-hand car market where hundreds of private sellers park their vehicles and wait all day to discuss prices with prospective buyers.

‘Terrorist car bomb’

The Amaq propaganda agency linked to ISIL, which has claimed nearly all such attacks recently, reported the blast and described it as targeting “a gathering of Shias”.

“A terrorist car bomb attack struck near car dealerships in Bayaa,” a spokesperson for the Baghdad Operations Command said in a statement.

An interior ministry official gave a death toll of 52 and said that more than 50 other people were also wounded. Hospital officials confirmed the figures.

Security officials could be seen inspecting the site before the sun set, while some distressed civilians searched for relatives and others took pictures with their mobile phones of the large crater caused by the blast.

Another four attacks in and around Baghdad on Thursday killed eight people and wounded about 30, police and medical officials said.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the horrible terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS targeting a car dealership in Baghdad,” the US state separtment said.

Jan Kubis, the UN’s top envoy in Iraq, said: “Yet again, the terrorists are continuing with their carnage against innocent civilians. This is totally unacceptable.”

The latest bombings were also condemned by France, one of the main partners of the US in a coalition assisting Iraq in its battle against ISIL, whose fighters also control parts of neighbouring Syria.

ISIL is currently defending the west bank of the northern city of Mosul, its last major urban stronghold in Iraq, against a huge offensive by the security forces.

Four months into the broad military operation, Iraq’s largest in years, elite forces have retaken the eastern side of the city and are preparing for an assault on the part of Mosul that lies west of the Tigris River.

ISIL fighters have carried out diversionary attacks, such as raids in other towns and cities as well as bombings in Baghdad and elsewhere, in an apparent bid to stretch federal security forces and capture headlines.

On Wednesday, a suicide bomber detonated a pick-up truck in Baghdad’s Sadr City suburb, killing at least 15 and wounding 50 more.

And on Tuesday, a car-bomb explosion in southern Baghdad killed at least four people.

 

Source: Al Jazeera and Reuters news agency

Middle East

Italy backs stronger ties, enhanced dialogue with Qatar

Published

on

Qatar Italy

Rome, June 22 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi on Friday said that his country wanted to strengthen bilateral relations and to deepen dialogue with Qatar.

He was speaking at a meeting with his Qatar counterpart Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim al-Thani here.

“During cordial discussions, Minister Moavero Milanesi confirmed the Italian government’s commitment to intensifying political dialogue and bilateral relations in the economic and trade spheres as well as in terms of cultural cooperation,” said a Foreign Ministry statement.

The talks between Milanesi and al-Thani also covered key regional issues including turmoil-wracked Libya, the migration crisis and war-torn Syria, the statement said.

“A detailed exchange of views also took place on the Gulf diplomatic crisis in respect of which Minister Milanesi reiterated Italy’s support for a negotiated solution based on dialogue between the various sides,” the statement added.

Qatar has been locked in a bitter year-long rift with a Saudi-led alliance including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt which abruptly severed ties with Qatar in June last year, accusing it of supporting terrorism and of backing Iran.

Qatar claims the blockade is an attack on its sovereignty and punishment for pursuing an independent foreign policy. Diplomatic efforts led by Kuwait and the US to end the rancorous dispute have so far stalled.

At a meeting in Brussels with al-Thani on Thursday, the European Union’s Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini underlined the bloc’s continued support for “an intra-Gulf mediated solution and Kuwait’s mediation in this regard,” the European Commission said in a statement.

Continue Reading

Middle East

Gaza protests : 4 killed, 618 injured

Eyewitnesses said Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at journalists and TV crew in eastern Gaza. Palestinian demonstrators brought down an Israeli drone carrying a camera used to film demonstrators in eastern Gaza City.

Published

on

Gaza protests

Jerusalem, June 9 (IANS) Four Palestinian protesters were killed and 618 others wounded by Israeli soldiers on Friday during clashes near the Israel-Gaza border, officials said.

Ashraf al-Qedra, the Health Ministry spokesman in Gaza, said Zeyad al-Briem, 25, and Haytham al-Jammal, 15, were killed in east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, while Emad Darabieh, 26, was shot dead in east of Jabalia in northern Gaza.

Meanwhile, Yousef al-Faseeh, 29, was killed in east of Gaza City, Xinhua reported.

Among the injured Palestinians, 117 were hit with live gunshots, 60 with tear gas inhalation, and 77 by bullets shrapnels or tear gas canisters, said al-Qedra.

The clashes, which broke out on Friday afternoon, were part of the 11th Friday “Great March of Return” held by Palestinians in Gaza since March 30. More than 120 Palestinians have been killed so far.

Related image

The Palestinian organisers called the latest rally “the Friday of the One-million-men March for Jerusalem”.

Local media reported that thousands of Palestinian demonstrators joined the protests at five different spots in eastern Gaza.

Hundreds of kites carrying Molotov cocktails flown by demonstrators landed on Israeli agricultural fields and caused large fires.

Eyewitnesses said Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at journalists and TV crew in eastern Gaza. Palestinian demonstrators brought down an Israeli drone carrying a camera used to film demonstrators in eastern Gaza City.

Five journalists were injured, including AFP photographer Mohamed al-Baba, who was shot in his right foot, and a cameraman working for the al-Aqsa Radio of Hamas, who was hit with a tear gas canister in his back, the Health Ministry in Gaza said.

The Ministry also accused Israeli soldiers of firing tear gas at the medical workers who were treating the injured protesters.

Continue Reading

Middle East

Israel begins building marine barrier with Gaza

Israel claims Hamas constructs these tunnels to attack Israeli civilians.

Published

on

Avigdor Liberman

Jerusalem, May 28 (IANS) Israel’s Defence Minister on Sunday announced that construction had begun on a marine barrier with the Gaza Strip extending into the Mediterranean Sea.

Avigdor Liberman said in a statement that the barrier aimed to prevent any attempts by Palestinians in Gaza to enter Israeli territory through the sea, Efe news reported.

“This is an additional setback for Hamas, which has lost another strategic capability that it has invested massive amounts in developing. We will continue to protect the citizens of Israel with might and sophistication,” Liberman said.

The barrier is to consist of three layers, one of which is to be underwater, and is expected to be completed within a year, the statement added.

During Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza, members of the military wing of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that governs the Gaza Strip, managed to swim to Israeli territory and launch an attack on a Israeli army installation before being killed.

Israeli authorities are also constructing an underground barrier beneath the Gaza-Israel boundary to stop Hamas from digging tunnels into Israeli territory.

Israel claims Hamas constructs these tunnels to attack Israeli civilians.

An independent inquiry into the 2014 war in Gaza by the UN Human Rights Council concluded that “the tunnels were only used to conduct attacks directed at IDF (Israeli army) positions in Israel in the vicinity of the Green Line, which are legitimate military targets.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular