Kirkuk - A series of blasts claimed 21 lives this morning in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Samarra, Dibis and Taji. Iraq's security forces and politicians appear to be the main target, including Health Minister Majeed Hamad Amin and Falah Abdul Rahman Mohammed, chairman of the Kirkuk Investment Commission. Today was the deadliest day in Iraq since 20 March, when shootings and bombings killed 55 people and wounded 255 nationwide.
In Baghdad, five blasts struck in various Shia neighbourhoods, killing seven people. Three blasts occurred in Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, killing nine. In Baquba, the capital of Diyala province, a suicide bomber blew himself up killing a police officer.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks. Sources in Kirkuk told AsiaNews that they appear to be connected with factional fighting among Iraqi parties.
Targets also included prominent military officers, police officials and businessmen. In Kurdistan, "the first bomb went off in Mileh, an Arab village 45 km from Kirkuk, killing five people. The second attack came in Baghdad road near Miqdad, causing two deaths and 15 wounded."
Sources say the target was Col Taha Salaheddin, a Turkmen and Kirkuk police chief, who was wounded.
"A few minutes later, another explosion occurred near the home of Falah Abdul Rahman Mohammed, a businessman and chairman of the Kirkuk Investment Commission. Two police officers were killed and four guards wounded," the sources added.
Experts believe the spate of attacks to be connected with growing tensions between Sunnis and Shias after the departure of US troops last December and the arrest order issued by Iraqi Prime Minister Nour al-Maliki, a Shia, against Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni.
Sources told AsiaNews that the 27 million-nation is breaking apart along confessional lines, completing a process of the partition that would divide the country into a majority Shia region (61 per cent of the population) and a minority Sunni zone (34 per cent, 17 per cent of whom are minority Kurds).
If this were ever to pass, the country's Christian and Yazidi minorities (4 per cent) could disappear. At present, they have already been reduced by half. (S.C.)