Iraq Bombings Kill at Least 55

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Bombings Strike Shiite Neighborhoods.

A new wave of bombs tore through Baghdad on Monday, officials said, killing at least 55 people. Most of the blasts were car bombs detonated in Shiite neighborhoods, the latest of a series of well-coordinated attacks blamed on hard-line Sunni insurgents determined to rekindle large-scale sectarian conflict.

Multiple coordinated bombing strikes have hit Baghdad repeatedly over the last five months. The Shiite-led government has announced new security measures, conducted counterinsurgency sweeps of areas believed to hold insurgent hide-outs, and sponsored political reconciliation talks, but hasn’t significantly slowed the pace of the bombing campaign.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the deadly wave, but they bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda’s local branch in Iraq, known as the Islamic State of Iraq. Al Qaeda is believed to be trying to build on the Sunni minority’s discontent toward what they consider to be second-class treatment by Iraq’s Shiite-led government and on infighting between political groups.

In addition to helping al Qaeda gain recruits, the political crisis may also be affecting the security forces’ ability to get intelligence from Sunni communities.

“Our war with terrorism goes on,” Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan told the Associated Press. “Part of the problem is the political infighting and regional conflicts…There are shortcomings and we need to develop our capabilities mainly in the intelligence-gathering efforts.”

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