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Several dead after Baghdad blast

22 December 2011, 12:35

Iraq - A series of blasts on Thursday morning in Baghdad killed at least seven people and injured dozens more in what appeared to be a co-ordinated attack across the Iraqi capital.

The blasts were the worst violence to hit the country since a political crisis between Iraq's Sunni and Shi’ite factions erupted this weekend.

The political spat, which pits Iraq's Shiite prime minister against the highest-ranking Sunni political leader, has raised fears that the Iraq's sectarian wounds will be reopened.

Iraqi officials said at least seven blasts went off early Thursday morning in neighbourhoods around the city. At least four people were killed in one western Baghdad neighbourhood when two roadside bombs exploded. Three others died in three separate explosions.

All the information came from police and hospital officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

In the south-western neighbourhood of Karrada, where one of the victims was killed, sirens could be heard as ambulances rushed to the scene and a large plume of smoke rose over the explosion site.

While Baghdad and Iraq have gotten much safer over the years, explosions like Thursday's are still commonplace.

The political spat between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi has plunged Iraq into the worst political crisis in years and raised fears of renewed sectarian violence.

Al-Maliki's government has accused al-Hashemi of running a hit squad that targeted government officials. He's also pushing for a vote of no-confidence against another Sunni politician, the deputy prime minister Saleh al-Mutlaq.

Many Sunnis fear that this is part of a wider campaign to go after Sunni political figures in general and shore up Shi’ite control across the country at a critical time when all American troops have left the country.

- AP

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