Suicide bomber hits Iraq as crisis lingers
Firefighters and rescuers search for victims at the site of a bomb attack in Baghdad. AP photoA suicide attacker blew up a bomb-packed car at a Shiite religious foundation’s headquarters in Baghdad yesterday, killing at least 22 people, as political crisis deepens with a powerful Shiite cleric and Iraq’s main secular bloc making new calls to unseat the prime minister.
Shortly after the attack, at least one blast struck near a Sunni foundation’s headquarters in the capital, leaving no casualties, amid a dispute between the two endowments which manage Iraq’s religious landmarks over a shrine north of Baghdad. The first attack struck outside the Shiite endowment in Baab al-Muadham, central Baghdad, and left at least 22 people dead and more than 65 wounded, two medical officials said.
‘Enough votes collected for no-confidence’
The bombing completely destroyed the endowment headquarters, its deputy chief, Sami al-Massudi, told Agence France-Presse. He said the Shiite endowment had received threats in recent days as a result of the dispute over the Al-Askari shrine, a Shiite Muslim site in the mostly Sunni city of Samarra, north of Baghdad. On the political ground, Iraqi lawmakers collected 172 votes, which is enough to take a no-confidence vote against al-Maliki, Anatolia news agency reported. The report said President Jalal Talabani will soon deliver the signatures to the Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi.
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and secular Iraqiya bloc have also made new calls to unseat Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
“We say, complete your (good work) and announce your resignation, for the sake of the people... and for the sake of partners,” al-Sadr said in a statement released late June 3. Maysoon al-Damaluji, spokeswoman for the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc which is seeking to convince President Jalal Talabani to initiate a vote of no confidence in Maliki, meanwhile called for members of al-Maliki’s National Alliance to quickly find a replacement for the embattled premier.
It is up to “the brothers and sisters in National Alliance to carry the historic responsibility and to work seriously and quickly to find a replacement within the National Alliance,” Damaluji said in an emailed statement yesterday.