At least 54 people were killed and over 100 more injured on Monday in a series of bomb blasts throughout Iraq, the latest in a series of escalating attacks linked to political and sectarian tension. Most of the dead were in Baghdad, where eight separate explosions rocked the capital, hitting bus stations and markets mainly in Shia areas of the capital. No group has taken responsibility for the bombings yet. Monday’s blasts come just one day after 10 police officers were reportedly killed in the northwest, and on Friday, at least 60 people were killed in three separate bombings in Sunni Muslim areas in and around Baghdad.
"Washing the blood off the streets - the clear-up begins after another deadly day of violence in Iraq. Here in Basra, a predominantly Shi'ite oil hub in the south, at least 11 people were killed when two car bombs exploded. One was detonated near a busy market and restaurants while the other went off in a bus terminal."
One shop owner who witnessed one of the morning explosions recounted "We heard a bang between about 0700 and 0730 in the morning and cars that were parked here were damaged. The blast took place in this area (pointing). There was a man whose name is Ali selling tea in the street, who disappeared in the blast."
The blasts come amid an upsurge of violence in the country. In the capital Baghdad, eight car bombs in mainly Shi'ite districts killed at least 20 people. Tensions between minority Sunni Muslims and Shi'ites who now lead Iraq are at their highest since US troops pulled out in 2011. More than 700 people were killed by attacks in April, according to a UN count, the highest figure in almost five years.