Two suicide bombers have killed more than 110 people in the Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Kerbala. That means that violence in Iraq has killed more than 225 people and wounded hundreds more since the start of the New Year. The attack in the Sunni stronghold of Ramadi was the worst single assault since July. A bomber blew himself up near a group of police and army recruits – the latest in a long list of such attacks.
Five US soldiers lost their lives when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle while on patrol in Baghdad. A further two died in a similar incident in Najaf. The explosion in Kerbala – one of Shia Islam’s holiest cities – was the second in as many days. It happened within sight of the golden dome of the Imam Hussein shrine.
The bomber is thought to have detonated an explosive belt packed with ball bearings and a grenade. Mistrust between Iraq’s majority Shia and minority Sunni Arab communities has been worsened by the results in last month’s elections. Some Sunni and secular leaders say they were rigged to favour the Shia. The Iraqi electoral commission has called in a panel of four international monitors to investigate the allegations.