Many dead in series of attacks in iraq

Many dead in series of attacks in iraq

Cities and regions where muslims of the shiite faith predominate were particularly affected. Sunni protests against the shiite-dominated government continued. Protesters have been demanding reforms and the release of political opponents for weeks.

Two car bombs exploded at a popular bird market in the baghdad suburb of chadimija, according to security sources. According to police and medics, at least 19 people were killed in the detonations. 42 other passers-by were injured. In the city of hilla, about 100 kilometers south of baghdad, 13 people were killed when two car bombs detonated. 53 people suffered injuries.

In the shiite pilgrimage city of kerbela, the explosion of a car bomb outside a government building killed three people and injured nine, according to security officials and eyewitnesses.

Meanwhile, in the northern cities of kirkuk, samarra and mossul, as well as in western fallujah and baghdad, thousands of sunnis took to the streets to demonstrate against the shiite-dominated government of prime minister al-maliki. The demonstrators demanded reforms and the release of political prisoners.

Influential shiite preacher muktada al-sadr defended the demonstrators against accusations that their movement was infiltrated by terrorists. He said he was not afraid that the protesters would be taken over by the sunni terrorist organization al-qaeda. Rather, he feared sectarianism. Al-sadr advocates dialogue between the al-maliki government and the demonstrators.

In crisis-ridden iraq, a new power struggle has broken out between the shiite majority and the sunni minority since the withdrawal of U.S. Soldiers in december 2011. This is increasingly being carried out with bloody violence. Meanwhile, attacks occur almost daily.

Human rights activists again accuse the government of "draconian measures" against opposition activists. The country’s leadership is becoming increasingly authoritarian, but is not making the country safer, the human rights organization human rights watch said in its annual report.

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