By Tom Walker, Director, Assaye Risk
Levels of violence remained constant this week as Sunni insurgents continue to pressurize and attack the Shia majority. Unsurprisingly, the violence predominated in and around Baghdad but was also seen in the smaller satellite towns to the south and north of the capital.
Late in the week it was confirmed that the ISI – Al Qaeda’s wing in Iraq – had been responsible for the spate of deadly attacks last week. The group claimed responsibility for a series of car bombs that killed around 60 people in predominantly Shi'ite districts of the Iraqi capital last week. An ISI spokesman said that the operations encompassed targets that were carefully selected deep within the rejectionist strongholds inside Baghdad and that the group could now regularly reach the outskirts of the heavily fortified "Green Zone" in Baghdad, where many foreign embassies are located.
Tuesday brought fresh levels of violence across the northern belts after a predominantly quiet weekend. Bomb attacks targeting both Shi'ite Muslims and Sunnis killed at least 20 people across the country as violence flared in many of the provincial towns north of Baghdad.
In the ethnically mixed province of Diyala, a car bomb targeted Shi'ites in a marketplace in the village of Anbakiya, killing five people (in the third such attack of the past two months) as a white car parked near a barber's shop inside Anbakiya market exploded. On the outskirts of the village another car bomb targeted a Shi'ite tribal leader, who survived while three others were killed, and a blast in Hwaish village, also in Diyala province, claimed three more lives.
In another satellite town a roadside bomb killed five people in a coffee shop in a Sunni area of Latifiya, around 40 km from Baghdad, in a volatile area known as the "triangle of death, in what appears to have been a revenge attack after the slaying of 16 members of one Shi'ite family last week.