A wave of bombings in Iraq on Tuesday morning has killed at least 44 people and left almost 200 wounded. The violence was targeted at Shiite pilgrims and police and it is what Iraqi officials have dreaded would happen before the Arab League summit.
Iraq wants to show the top leaders in the Arab world that it is becoming more stable. There has not been anyone who claimed responsibility for the attacks; however, it is likely that al-Qaeda is involved. The Arab League summit will be held in Baghdad for the first time in several decades. Last year, the summit was supposed to be in Baghdad, too, but violence and uncertainty about security ended up in the summit being canceled.
The bombings occurred in several cities. One of the worst hit was the city ofKarbala. Two car bombs killed 13 in a crowded restaurant and shopping area. Fifty others were injured, according to Shadhan al-Aboudi, a local council member. Aboudi said that the attacks are designed to undermine confidence in the Iraqi government and stop the summit from happening.
A police official’s house was bombed in Fallujah, a police station in Kirkuk was blown up, and restaurants and shopping districts in two other cities in southern Iraq were attacked. There were eight cities that were hit by the bombers, with most of the attacks targeting government officials and police.
Thirteen police officers were killed in Kirkuk and 59 more were wounded. The city is located about 3 hours from Baghdad to the north. Two of the bombings also occurred in Baghdad right outside of where the summit is scheduled to be held. Last week, the Iraqi government announced that there would be more than25,000 soldiers, police, and security forces members deployed to Baghdad to ramp up security for theupcoming summit. The questions remain, though, if the city will be safe for the people who will be in attendance.