Baghdad bombings kill 5 as Iraqis protest government
By SAMYA KULLAB and MURTADA FARAJ, BAGHDAD (AP): Three simultaneous explosions rocked Baghdad late Tuesday, killing five people and wounding more than a dozen, Iraqi officials said, in the first apparent coordinated attack since anti-government protests erupted nearly two months ago.
It was not immediately clear who has behind the bombings, which bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State group. Iraq declared victory over the extremists nearly two years ago, but they still maintain a presence in parts of the country and carry out sporadic attacks.
Security officials said at least three people were killed and five wounded in an explosion in the southwestern Baiyaa neighborhood. Two were killed and four were wounded in northeastern Shaab City, and four were wounded in Baladiyat, southeast of Baghdad.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media, said two bomb-laden motorcycles and a roadside bomb were used in the attacks.
The bombings took place far from Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of weeks of anti-government protests that have posed the biggest security challenge to Iraq since the defeat of IS.
Security forces killed three protesters and wounded at least 80 on Tuesday as demonstrations raged in Baghdad and across mostly Shiite southern Iraq. The protesters accuse the government of being hopelessly corrupt and complain of poor public services and high unemployment.
Security and hospital officials said two protesters in Baghdad were killed when security forces fired live ammunition and rubber bullets. In southern Iraq, one protester was killed when security forces fired live rounds after a full day of sit-ins and road closures.
Security and hospital officials confirmed the toll on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Protesters, most of them balaclava-clad Iraqi youth, carried one of the slain demonstrators, his face covered in blood, away from the scene of the fighting to a tuk tuk — a three-wheeled motorcycle transport — for medical help.
Another protester died near the banks of the Tigris River, close to Ahrar bridge. Protesters are occupying part of three key bridges — Jumhuriya, Ahrar and Sinak — in a standoff with security forces.
Over 350 people have been killed and thousands have been wounded since Oct. 1. The demonstrations are the largest grassroots protest movement in Iraq’s modern history.