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Updated: April 7, 2010 15:11 IST

Funerals held after spate of Baghdad bombs

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Iraqis inspect the scene of a bomb attack in Baghdad on Wednesday. Photo: AP.
Iraqis inspect the scene of a bomb attack in Baghdad on Wednesday. Photo: AP.

Hundreds of mourners marched through the streets of a predominantly Shiite area of Baghdad on Wednesday in funeral processions for some of the 54 people killed the previous day in a series of bombings in the Iraqi capital.

In one procession, families and friends of one victim carried his coffin and picture over their heads through the narrow streets, walking to the cadence of a gun being fired into the air in time to a drum.

Nearby, the Iraqi-flag draped coffin of another victim was carried to a car to be taken away for burial, as mourners wailed and fired gunshots into the air.

“The whole district is in mourning because even if you didn’t have a relative killed, it might have been a neighbour or a friend,” said shop—owner Saif Hasan, who blamed the government for not providing better security.

“Instead of improving our area with reconstruction and services, we face bombings and destruction,” the 25-year-old said.

At least seven bombs ripped through apartment buildings across Baghdad on Tuesday and another struck a market, killing 54 people and wounding 187. The explosions reduced one building to rubble, and knocked out windows and doors and ripped off facades of others.

The explosions were the latest in a five-day spree of attacks in and around the capital that have killed some 120 people.

The violence, which has largely targeted families and homes, was reminiscent of the sectarian bloodshed that tore Iraq apart from 2005 to 2007 and prompted the United States to send tens of thousands more troops to the front lines.

But even since that time, sectarian violence and attacks on civilians have flared up, especially surrounding important events such as the election.

Iraqi and U.S. officials both blamed the latest spike in attacks on al-Qaeda insurgents seizing on gaping security lapses created by the political deadlock that has gripped the country since its March 7 parliamentary election failed to produce a clear winner.

Police investigating the Tuesday attacks said in one case, the suspected bomber rented a first-floor apartment in one of the buildings a week ago, and likely rigged it with explosives.

Police are working on the theory that the other buildings were attacked the same way, an investigator told the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with the press.

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