Blasts in Baghdad's Sadr City kill at least 18, wound 40

McClatchy NewspapersOctober 13, 2011 

BAGHDAD — Baghdad was shaken Thursday for the second day in a row by a series of bomb blasts that claimed at least 18 lives and left 40 people wounded.

Thursday's explosions came in the Sadr City district of eastern Baghdad, the stronghold of radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia.

They came the day after a series of explosions targeted mostly security facilities in the Iraqi capital, claiming the lives of 23 Iraqis and wounding more than 70.

Thursday's blasts began with the detonation of a so-called sticky bomb that had been attached to a parked car near a Sadr City market, said Hakim al Zamili, a Sadrist lawmaker and a member of parliament's Security and Defense Committee. "When people gathered, two other roadside bombs detonated," he said.

The two days of coordinated blasts underscored the fragile security situation in Baghdad just weeks before all U.S. troops are to withdraw from the country. Iraqi officials have requested that 5,000 American trainers stay on past Dec. 31, but they've said the trainers won't be granted immunity from prosecution under Iraqi laws, a condition that the United States previously has called a deal breaker. U.S. officials have said talks are continuing, but Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said this week that Iraq was waiting for a "yes or no" response.

Zamili, who was visiting the wounded in a hospital Thursday, blamed the explosions on the indifference of the country's security officials.

"The security officials don't really care about people and their lives because they live in the heavy protected green zone and they never feel the danger," he said.

Zamili said he expected even more attacks because terrorist groups had infiltrated the country's security forces.

(Hammoudi is a McClatchy special correspondent.)

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