Senior Iraqi cleric slams government over insecurity
Prominent Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has criticized the government for security failures following a string of bombings that hit in and around the capital Baghdad,
At least 77 people were killed and more than 140 wounded by three bombings in Baghdad on Tuesday. One of the bombings struck a crowded market in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad, leaving at least 30 dead and 57 wounded.
The attacks “are the clearest evidence that your government has become unable to protect and provide you with security,” Sadr said in a statement on Tuesday.
Following the attack, hundreds of fighters loyal to Sadr were reportedly deployed in Sadr City and five other Shia-dominated areas where the worst of the recent violence has been centered.
The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack in Sadr city as well as a bombing in the northern district of al-Shaab, which killed 41 people and wounded more than 70 others.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reportedly ordered the arrest of the official in charge of al-Shaab’s security, his office said in a statement, without giving a reason.
More than 200 people have been killed in the new wave of bombings in and around Baghdad over the past week.
The surge has clearly angered local populations, who blame the Iraqi government for failing to provide tighter security.
However, observers say Daesh is seeking to make up for its loss of ground to Iraqi security forces over the past months.
New estimates by the government show that Daesh now controls only 14 percent of the Iraqi territory, down from the 40 percent it held in 2014, with top officials vowing to clear the entire Iraqi soil from militants in 2016.
The Iraqi army along with the voluntary forces known as the Popular Mobilization Units has been engaged in fighting against Daesh to liberate areas it has overrun in Iraq.