22 January 2007 Baghdad bombings

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22 January 2007 Baghdad bombings
Location Bab Al-Sharqi market of Baghdad, Iraq
Date 22 January 2007
12:00 – 17:00 (UTC+3)
Target Shiite marketplace
Attack type
Car bombs
Deaths 88
Non-fatal injuries
160
Perpetrators Unknown: legal proceedings have not yet taken place.

The 22 January 2007 Baghdad bombings was a terrorist attack that occurred when two powerful car bombs ripped through the Bab Al-Sharqi market in central Baghdad, killing at least 88 people and wounding 160 others in one of the bloodiest days since the US invasion of Iraq. The attack occurred two days after the start of the 10-day Shiite festival leading up to Ashoura.

The blasts at the Baghdad market were aimed at a Shiite area and seemed timed to inflict maximum damage, occurring at noon local time, which is one of the busiest times of the day. Police officials said the blasts were so large that each of the cars carried more than 200 pounds of explosives. The explosions could be heard from the eastern banks of the nearby Tigris River. In the aftermath, the large number of bodies required workers to stack them on top of one another in wooden carts, while other victims were simply blown to pieces. Fires from the explosion engulfed at least a dozen cars, creating clouds of smoke large enough that they drifted over the Green Zone, about half a mile away.

In the past, such attacks by Sunni Arab insurgents have been met by swift reprisals, a cycle of violence that left some 34,000 Iraqis dead last year directly because of the attacks and many more lives lost indirectly. The bombings, directed specifically at civilians, seemed intended to elicit a reprisal, much like the 23 November 2006 Sadr City bombings that killed at least 215 people. The area of the market is a stronghold of the Mahdi Army, the main Shia militia in central Iraq; a suicide bomber killed at least 63 people in the same area last month.

The bombing was followed by prolonged gun battles. The fighting could be heard across the city, although officials did not release any casualty figures from the ensuing skirmishes. At the site of the car bombings, Iraqi Army troops spotted a man on a nearby rooftop shortly after the attack, filming the carnage. According to an Iraqi Army official, the man was killed by gunfire while attempting to escape over the rooftops. The official said the man was an Egyptian and was filming the attack to use as propaganda for the Sunni insurgents.

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, whose government has proven incapable of ending the bloodshed, condemned the attack. He blamed the car bombs on followers of Saddam Hussein. At least 70 people were killed in a double bombing outside a Baghdad University during the previous week, an attack Maliki also blamed on Saddam's supporters. A UN envoy said Iraq was sliding "into the abyss of sectarianism" and urged Iraqi political and religious leaders to halt the violence.

In addition to the market attacks, at least 15 people were killed and another 39 wounded in coordinated bomb and mortar attacks in the Shiite town of Khalis. Later that same day, a Sunni mosque in the Dura section of Baghdad was blown up; there were no reports of casualties and residents said the attack was likely retribution for the bombing of a Shiite mosque in the same neighborhood during the previous week. Police confirmed that they had found 29 unidentified bodies with gunshot wounds; altogether, more than 130 people were killed in and around the capital.

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