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Iraqi Sunnis Condemn Sadr City Bombings

The Iraqi Islamic Party, the main political Sunni party in Iraq, condemned Monday, March 13, the series of car bombs in the Shiite Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, which killed up to 46 people and wounded hundreds.

Iraqi Sunnis Condemn Sadr City Bombings

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms these odious attacks, which are aimed at pitting the Iraqis against one another and destabilizing the country," the party said in a press release on its Web site.

"No sooner had Iraq's political parties tired to jumpstart talks to reach a common ground than bloody attacks took place to cast a spanner in the political process," it added, referring to marathon talks by Iraqi politicians to hold the first session of parliament.

The party urged the parties concerned to "join forces and help turn off the bloodletting, which targets all Iraqis irrespective of their religious affiliations and ethnic backgrounds."

Iraq suffered one of its worst days of bloodshed Sunday as 46 people were killed and at least 204 wounded in a six car bomb attack in Sadr City, sparking fresh fears of sectarian violence.

Two cars exploded in the Al-Ula market, followed by one in Kayara market, two in Mreidi market and one in Dagher market, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

A seventh car bomb was defused, according to the interior ministry. The city is home to more than two million people and a bastion of Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, which is suspected of carrying out reprisal attacks against Sunnis.

Sadr said on Monday he would not order his militia to strike back. "I could order the Mahdi army to root out the terrorists and fundamentalists but this would lead us into civil war and we don't want that," Reuters quoted him as telling a news conference in the Shiite holy city of Najaf.

The bombing of a revered Shiite mosque in Samarra, north of Baghdad, on February 22 led to a wave of reprisal attacks against Sunnis and their mosques as the country appeared to be spiraling towards civil war.

In the 12 days that followed the Samarra bombing, more than 450 civilians, mostly Sunnis, were killed and 81 Sunni mosques attacked, of which eight were destroyed.

Parliament Postponed

The onslaught came hours after politicians, who had been postponing the opening of parliament because of a dispute over who should be prime minister in the next broad-based coalition government, suddenly brought the date forward from Sunday to Thursday.

"The presidency council took this decision after consulting all parties involved, in order to give the security forces time to ... prepare for the (Shiite ceremony of) Arbain," said a statement from the office of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, referring to death anniversary of Al-Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

Talabani had originally said that he would call for the parliament to convene on March 12 but the powerful Shiite Alliance asked for a delay until March 19 because it needed more time to negotiate on formation of the new government, Reuters reported.

Iraq's political leaders are deadlocked over who should be prime minister in the new government. Sunnis and Kurds are opposed to Shiite Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari staying on in the powerful post. Jaafari insisted on Sunday he would stay.

The Shiite Alliance, which has close to a majority in the parliament elected in December, said it was determined to resist the efforts to oust Jaafari.

Sunni and Kurdish parties accuse Jaafari of failing to improve security or prosperity in the year he has been interim prime minister.

Jaafari, leader of the Dawa party, won the nomination to lead the new government in an internal ballot of Alliance legislators by a single vote.

 

Source: IslamOnline

 

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