In first month after US exit, Iraq's sectarian clashes have killed 170
A series of bombings hit Baghdad today, killing 14. The violence in Iraq has claimed 170 lives already this year.
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A series of bombings in Baghdad today killed 14 people, bringing Iraq's 2012 death toll up to at least 170 people less than a month into the country's first year without American troops on the ground since 2003.
The Associated Press reports that several explosive-laden cars were detonated in the neighborhoods of Sadr City and Shula and the district of Hurriya. Seventy people were wounded in the attacks, which all targeted predominantly Shiite areas.
The recent attacks are suspected of being a part of a campaign by Sunni insurgents targeting Shiite communities and Iraqi security forces in order to "undermine public confidence" in the Shiite-led government's ability to protect Iraqis without American troops to back them up, according to AP.
The Washington Post reports that, also today, gunmen killed Police Capt. Hassan Abdullah al Timimi and his family in their home, then set off two bombs as they left, according to a local pollice commander.
"The violent attacks against the Rawafid (the name used for Shiites by Sunni extremists) will continue," Al-Qaeda front group the Islamic State of Iraq said in a statement, while claiming responsibility for attacks on Shiite pilgrims over the past month.
"The lions of the Islamic State of Iraq (will not cease their operations)... as long as the Safavid government continues its war. We will spill rivers of their blood as reciprocity."
The jihadists often invoke Iran's Safavid past, referring to the Shiite dynasty that ruled Persia between the 16th and 18th centuries, and conquered part of Iraq, when denouncing the Baghdad government, which they say is controlled by Tehran.