Toll in two Iraq blasts climbs to 87
The toll in two suicide bombings in Iraq Thursday climbed to 87 Friday, police said.Updated: Apr 24, 2009 13:21 IST
The toll in two suicide bombings in Iraq Thursday climbed to 87 Friday, police said.
A man killed 33 people and himself when he detonated explosives strapped to his body in a crowd queuing up for humanitarian aid in central Baghdad. At least 57 people were wounded in that attack, police said.
Later Thursday, a man walked into a restaurant full of Iranian pilgrims, near Khanaqin, in the violence-prone Iraqi province of Diyala, and blew himself up. Police said 52 people and the bomber were killed in that attack, and that 68 others were wounded.
It was unclear who was responsible for the planning of the two bombings. However Iraqi lawmaker Taha al-Lheiby believes that there are foreign agendas behind the increasing violence in his country during this month.
He said that these "agendas" aim at creating obstacles in front of the withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq in the scheduled dates.
There are presently more than 140,000 US troops in Iraq. Most of them will withdraw from Iraq by the end of August 2010, sharply reducing the US presence in the war-torn country. However, about 35,000 to 50,000 soldiers will remain to support and train Iraqi forces.
"I am afraid the coming days will be more violent, and this is because of the outside hands that are trying to mess up with the Iraqi security and pressure Iraqis to accept the stay of the US troops in the country," al-Lheiby said.
Tariq al-Hashemi, the leader of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party, said earlier that security forces had arrested Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the "emir" of a group known as the Islamic State in Iraq.
The Islamic State in Iraq is an umbrella group encompassing several Sunni insurgent groups, including Al Qaeda in Iraq.
However, in March and May 2007, respectively, Iraqi police had said that al-Baghdadi had been arrested and killed.
In July 2007, US Brigadier-General Kevin Bergner told reporters that the US military believed al-Baghdadi was a myth created "to put an Iraqi face on the leadership of Al Qaeda in Iraq".
Reports of al-Baghdadi's arrest came soon after police near Falluja, a stronghold of Sunni insurgents 60 km west of Baghdad, said they had arrested eight men on suspicion of being members of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ahmed Jamili said that Iraqi security forces had raided villages east of Falluja early Thursday morning and arrested men suspected of planning attacks on Iraqi police and army patrols. He added that intelligence linked the men to Al Qaeda, and that he expected investigations to turn up more details.
First Published: Apr 24, 2009 13:20 IST