9 dead, 72 wounded after bombings in Iraq, police say

An Iraqi soldier inspects the site of a blast after a bomb ripped through a group of workers in Sadr City in Baghdad on January 24, 2012.

Story highlights

  • A blast near an elementary school kills two and injures 18, including some students
  • Five attacks take place in mostly Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad
  • They include four car bombings and a roadside bomb attack
  • Two explosions take place in Sadr City, an area in eastern Baghdad
At least nine people were killed and at least 72 others wounded Tuesday when four car bombs and a roadside bomb exploded in mostly Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, police officials said.
The first two attacks took place in Sadr City, an area in eastern Baghdad, police said. A car bomb exploded in al-Mudhafar Square, near a group of laborers who were waiting to be picked up for a daily job, police said. A few minutes later, a second car bomb exploded near a busy fuel station.
Police said seven people were killed and 35 people were injured in the attacks in Sadr City, which is home to about 1.5 million people.
A third car bomb exploded on a road in the al-Hurriya neighborhood in southwestern Baghdad, killing at least one person and wounding 13 others, police said.
In a fourth attack, a roadside bomb wounded six people when it exploded near Adan Square in northwestern Baghdad.
And a fifth explosion, a car bomb, blew up near an elementary school in the Shulaa neighborhood of northwestern Baghdad, police said. Two people were killed, and 18 others -- including some students from the elementary school -- were wounded.
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Since the beginning of this year, a wave of attacks in Iraq have killed almost 200 people. Most of those killed were Shiites marking Arbaeen, a Shiite pilgrimage at the end of a 40-day period commemorating the seventh century Imam Hussain, who was killed in a battle.
The latest attacks raised concerns among ordinary people about the ability of Iraqi security forces to ensure security in this country, particularly after the United States withdrew troops by the end of 2011.
However, Iraqi people are more concerned now about the political crisis.
Last week, Iraq's Council of Ministers decided to ban members who are boycotting Cabinet meetings, a government spokesman said.
The banned ministers will not be allowed to manage their ministries, according to spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh.
Last month, the Sunni-backed Iraqiya party announced it would boycott parliament and Cabinet meetings, saying Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, was cutting the party out of the decision-making process.
Iraqiya spokeswoman Maysoun Damluji said the Iraqiya bloc was not surprised by the prime minister's move, calling it unconstitutional and illegal.
Iraq's political crisis deepened last year when a warrant was issued for Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, who is accused of organizing his security detail into a death squad that targeted government and military officials.
Al-Hashimi has denied the charges, saying the accusations are politically motivated amid the rivalry between his political bloc and al-Maliki's Shiite majority bloc.
In recent weeks, Iraq's Kurdish president, Jalal Talabani, called for a "national conference" to address the political crisis.
But in the past week, a number of Sunni politicians who are members of Iraqiya bloc were arrested in Baghdad and Diyala province, officials with Iraqiya bloc said. Diyala's deputy governor in charge of investment, Ghadban al-Khazraji, was arrested Friday by Iraqi security forces.
Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi recently accused al-Maliki of targeting al-Iraqiya members and deepening the political crisis.
Allawi warned al-Maliki that if the national conference fails, he will have no choice but to call for changing the prime minister and call for early elections, or the Iraqiya bloc will completely withdraw from the political process -- a move that could bring Iraqi politics to complete standstill.