It may be week four of a major security crackdown by US and Iraqi troops but violence continues to rage on the streets of Baghdad. A frequent target of bomb blasts, the capital’s busy Shorja wholesale market was struck again today. At least 24 people were killed with a further 35 wounded. The attack is one of several in recent days to have shattered a relative calm, with insurgents determined, it seems, to defy attempts to put a halt to the bloodshed.
Nationwide, more than 40 people were killed in bombings in Iraq this morning. At least 12 of the victims were in the mainly Shi’ite city of Hilla where a bomb, apparently left on a parked bicycle or motorbike, blasted a crowd of young Iraqi men outside an army recruiting office. Regularly targeted by insurgents, such centres for the Iraqi military and police are key elements of Washington’s strategy for pulling its own troops out of Iraq.