Iraqis have been clearing up after a second murderous day of suicide bombings, marking the worst upsurge in killings since June last year. 60 people, many of them Iranian Shi’ite pilgrims, were killed in Baghdad when two powerful devices were detonated by female bombers in what appeared to be a coordinated attack. One struck inside the gates of the Imam Moussa al-Kadhim shrine on an important Shi’ite holy day. The other blast was at a market nearby.
And on Thursday, 89 people were killed, also in two suicide bombings. The attacks bore all the hallmarks of al-Qaeda Sunni extremists. One survivor in hospital said that those behind the bombings had “dirty hands”. “It will not stop us visiting holy shrines,” he said. “It is a cowardly act.” After a marked decline in violence in Iraq since the American military surge, these latest bombings have raised fears of a return to sectarian killings as US troops prepare to leave Iraqi cities in June.