Monday marked Iraq’s bloodiest day so far this year, as 107 people died from bombings and shootings, in a coordinated surge of violence against mostly Shi'ite Muslim targets. Just a few days prior, the leader of the country’s al Qaeda faction declared a new offensive in an attempt to take advantage of the disorganized Baghdad government U.S. troops are leaving behind. Monday’s violence suggests al Qaeda is much more powerful than U.S. and Iraqi officials admit. Security forces and government offices were the two most common targets of the day’s attacks. The worst part of the offensive took place in an town 12 miles north of Baghdad, where 41 people were killed after bombs exploded around five houses and the police who arrived to help were attacked by a suicide bomber.
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From the video, Marvine Cole reports:
Shi-ite pilgrims have been targeted in Iraq, with at least 56 dead maybe more and dozens being injured. The death toll is expected to rise. This time the target was the annual pilgrimage marking the 8th century death of al-Kadhim, one of the 12 principal Shiite saints, who is said to be buried in a shrine in Baghdad.
This is the wreckage of the car bomb and the devastation at the scene of the blast in central Baghdad. People trying to clean up the mess left behind with others clearly still in shock about the damage caused to their businesses.
In all there were four co-ordinated & simultaneous explosions in yet another wave of violence fueled by sectarianism. This apparently is the Kurdish Democratic Party's HQ in Kirkuk in the north: fire-fighters struggling to quell a blaze here and the car which apparently blew up right outside it. One local man condemning the fact that - in the current climate - offices of political parties were allowed to be situated in residential areas.
Here in Hilla, in the south of Baghdad, the front of this restaurant on the street corner's been blown clean out by two car bombs exploding within minutes of each other. It's a place apparently where police officers liked to go for breakfast. Emergency services wash blood and debris away from the scene as what's left of damaged vehicles nearby are taken away.
Iraq's interior ministry made a statement saying they'd be stepping up security across the city in expectation of more violence.