x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Multiple blasts rock Baghdad

A car bomb and several roadside blasts killed four people and wounded dozens in Iraq as Baghdad imposed a ban on motorcycles ahead of the holiday of Eid al Fitr.

A car bomb and several roadside blasts killed four people and wounded dozens in Iraq today as Baghdad imposed a ban on motorcycles ahead of the holiday of Eid al Fitr. In the deadliest attack, a vehicle packed with explosives was detonated and quickly followed by a roadside bomb near a bus terminal in the south Baghdad neighbourhood of Bayaa, killing two people. Officials from the ministries of defence and interior, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said more than 20 others were wounded, including 10 members of the Iraqi security forces.

And on Al Sheikh Omar Street in the centre of the capital, two near-simultaneous roadside bombs killed one person and wounded a dozen others, the interior ministry official and a doctor said. Baghdad Operations Command also said that it was enforcing a ban on motorcycles in the city until further notice, ahead of the three-day Eid al Fitr festivities which could begin tomorrow to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Bans on motorcycles - which have been used in deadly attacks in Iraq - are often implemented around major holidays in the country. Meanwhile, a farmer was killed in the central Iraqi town of Mayndili when his truck was struck by a roadside bomb inside his farm, said Major Mohammed al Karkhi, spokesman for police in Diyala province north of Baghdad. The motives for the attack, which also left his son wounded, was unclear.

The unrest comes a day after two American soldiers were gunned down by an Iraqi comrade following a row, US and Iraqi military officials said. Violence has spiked in Iraq in recent months, with July and August recording the highest monthly death tolls here since mid-2008, according to figures released by local officials. The country has been mired in a political stasis as no new government has formed since elections six months ago, and the latest attacks come a week after Washington declared an official end to combat operations here.

Nearly 50,000 American troops remain stationed in the country, though they have been charged with what has been labelled an "advise and assist" mission. * AFP