BAGHDAD: A wave of bombs exploded in markets in mainly Shia neighbourhoods across Baghdad on Monday, killing more than 50 people in the latest attacks to increase fears Iraq risks sliding back into broad sectarian conflict.
While no group claimed Monday’s blasts, Sunni Muslim insurgents and al Qaeda’ s Iraqi wing have increased attacks since the beginning of the year and often target Shia districts to try to trigger wider confrontation.
At least 11 blasts tore into busy markets and shopping areas in districts across the Iraqi capital, including twin bombs just several hundred meters apart that killed at least 13 people in the Sadr City area, police and hospital officials said.
Bombings on Shia and Sunni mosques, security forces and Sunni tribal leaders over a month-long surge in violence are deepening worries Iraq may tip back into the kind of wide scale Shia against Sunni slaughter that killed thousands in 2006-2007.
Tensions between the Shia leadership and the country’s Sunni Muslim minority are at their worst since American troops left in December 2011, and the conflict in Syria is also straining Iraq’s fragile communal balance.