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27 Feb, 2014 19:50

Wave of bombings kills at least 53 in Iraq

Wave of bombings kills at least 53 in Iraq

A motorcycle rigged with explosives exploded near a second hand market in Sadr City, Baghdad, killing at least 42 people and wounding 51. Two other bombs in the capital targeted minibuses bringing laborers home from work.

The motorcycle bombing hit a crowded market as night fell, according to security and medical sources cited by Reuters.

The earth underneath where the market had been was covered with blood as people ran around screaming for information about their relatives. Shop windows were blown out and shoes and motorcycle parts were strewn around the market, according to a Reuters correspondent at the scene

“I was about to leave the market when a huge explosion happened. I was hit in my face and my hands and when I got up, everyone was screaming and running towards me away from the blast,” said a wounded man who identified himself as Ahmed.

Authorities believe the explosives rigged bike was slipped in to the market which sells used bikes along with the others on display; mainly young men were killed in the attack.

Two other bombs struck across Baghdad, which targeted minibuses ferrying workmen home. Also in Sadr City a bomb planted on a minibus killed five civilians and wounded 14, while a bomb on a minibus in the northern Saab neighborhood, killed four people and wounded another 11, authorities said.

The figures were given by a police officer and two medical officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, AP reports.

In Mushaada, a Sunni district of northern Baghdad, a militant crashed his explosive laden vehicle into a checkpoint killing three soldiers and wounding six more.

While in northern Iraq a roadside bomb exploded near a Sahwa anti-Al-Qaeda militia patrol in the Sharqat area killed two anti-militia fighters and wounded four.

The bombings Thursday come after 13 people were killed in violence across the country Wednesday.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks but they bare all the hallmarks of Sunni insurgents with links to Al-Qaeda who have unleashed a campaign of bombing and terror on Iraq to destabilize the Shia led government.

Many Sunnis are angry over their perceived mistreatment, including random arrests by the government. Both Sard City and Shaab are predominately Shia areas.

In the west of Iraq, just a short drive from Baghdad, all of the city of Fallujah as well as parts of the Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, have been held by anti-government Sunni fighters since early January.

Thousands have fled the violence and the government and Iraqi army have led several unsuccessful attempts to flush the insurgents out.

2013 saw the highest death toll in Iraq since the worst of the sectarian violence in 2007. According to UN figures almost 8,900 people were killed in Iraq last year.

Over 1,650 have been killed so far this year with 680 killed since the beginning of February.