Skip to main content

Baghdad bombs: Dozens killed, scores wounded

By Mohammed Tawfeeq and Joe Sterling, CNN
updated 1:32 PM EDT, Wed August 28, 2013
Iraqi civilians check the site of an explosion in Baghdad on Wednesday.
Iraqi civilians check the site of an explosion in Baghdad on Wednesday.
  • NEW: Al-Maliki says his country's forces on high alert over Syria
  • An Iraq security operation is targeting al Qaeda members
  • Most of the attacks occurred in and around Baghdad

(CNN) -- Tensions festered in Iraq Wednesday after nearly 50 people died and dozens of others were wounded in a string of bombings mostly in and around Baghdad, police said

The bloodshed occurred during an intense time in Iraq. The country has endured months of escalating violence stemming from decades-old discord between the nation's Sunnis and Shiites, the two largest branches of Islam. And the government says it is gearing up if the Syrian conflict next door escalates.

Seventeen attacks unfolded in and around Iraq's capital, primarily in Shiite areas, police said. Police believe the strikes -- which killed 46 people -- occurred over a two-hour period and appeared to be coordinated.

Violence in the Baghdad area struck 11 locations.

Iraq's deadliest month: Who's behind the bloodshed?

Increased violence by extremists in Iraq
Violence marks end of Ramadan in Iraq

Incidents occurred in a range of neighborhoods, including Kadhimiya, Sadr City, al-Hurriya, and Bayaa. A suicide bomber walked into a restaurant in Mahmadouiya, about 18 miles south of Baghdad, and killed two people.

Separately, three police officers died in a car bombing in Mosul, in northern Iraq.

More than 180 people were wounded in all of the attacks.

Iraqi security forces are conducting an operation called Revenge for the Martyrs, designed to track down al Qaeda members in and around Baghdad.

Jacqueline Badcock, the U.N. secretary-general's deputy special representative for Iraq, said, "no political goal or grievance can possibly justify this daily bloodshed of innocent civilians."

"This relentless wave of senseless killing has left thousands dead since April and reflects the merciless nature of its authors," she said.

Iraq: Why violence and oil don't mix

The tensions between Iraq's Sunnis and Shiites have escalated, especially after an incident last April in Hawija, in northern Iraq, where Iraqi security forces raided a site used by Sunni protesters to demonstrate against the Shiite-led government.

Sunnis have felt politically marginalized under a Shiite-led government since the ouster of longtime leader Saddam Hussein in a 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Sunni protests against the Iraqi government have continued since the Hawija incident.

Iraq's Shiite-dominated government is wary that the Sunni Islamists who've been involved in fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime are targeting the government in Baghdad.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said his country's security forces are on high alert amid concerns over Syria. This stance was taken due to fears that a Western military strike on Syria is in the offing after an alleged chemical weapons attack. Syrian rebels blame the attack on al-Assad's government.

"We, as a government, have taken every necessary action from any serious developments that may result from the Syrian crisis and what is being said of an expected strike," al-Maliki said

July was the deadliest month in Iraq in the past five years since the peak of sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007. According to the United Nations, 1,057 Iraqis were killed and another 2,326 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence last month.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
James Dawes: Evil is the strongest word we have to prepare ourselves to kill others.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
As protests over the shooting of an unarmed black teen calmed down, the question remains: Where's the police officer who pulled the trigger?
updated 5:22 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
CNN's Tim Lister: Getting rid of ISIS will be tougher than taking on al Qaeda.
updated 8:42 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
American patients infected with Ebola are being released from the hospital. What now?
updated 6:48 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
One of the first observers at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine describes the harrowing scene.
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid gestures during the UEFA Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Sevilla at Cardiff City Stadium on August 12, 2014 Cardiff, Wales.
"We are like one grain of sand against a whole beach," says Eibar fan Unai Eraso.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 6:22 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
From fierce protests in Ferguson, to an Ebola survivor discharged from a hospital in Atlanta, browse through the photos of the week.