Baghdad liquor store bombed killing three, journalist loses legs separate attack

By Lara Jakes, AP
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Liquor store bombed in Baghdad, killing 3

BAGHDAD — Militants planted a bomb in an eastern Baghdad liquor store on Tuesday, killing the Christian owner and two others, while a TV reporter had his legs blown off by a bomb attached to his car in scattered violence across the city.

The political coalition led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, meanwhile, delayed a press conference in which it was expected to announce an alliance with a rival Shiite bloc, showing that wrangling continues over forming a new government.

There has been an uptick of violence in Iraq in the wake of the March 7 elections, which left no clear winner across Iraq’s fractured political landscape.

Tuesday’s bombings, however, did not necessarily appear to be linked to the political maneuvering, and involved attacks on liquor stores, probably by religious extremists, and the targeting of journalists — both of which have become frequent occurrences over the last several years.

At noon in the neighborhood of Zayouna, attackers posing as customers left behind a black plastic bag filled with explosives. Three people died, seven were also wounded and nearby stores were damaged.

An hour earlier, a sticky bomb attached to the car of Iraqi TV reporter Omar Ibrahim Rasheed exploded and blew his legs off, said Dr. Hazim Ajrawi, director of al-Yarmouk hospital in western Baghdad.

“We are doing our best to keep him alive,” Ajrawi said, adding that the reporter, who works for the small independent al-Rasheed TV, was in critical condition. Journalists are often targeted by insurgents or just factions who disagree with their reporting.

Another sticky bomb exploded under the car of an off-duty Iraqi soldier in Mahmoudiya, just south of Baghdad, wounding five, police and hospital workers said.

If al-Maliki had succeeded in forging a coalition with the religious Shiite Iraqi National Alliance bloc, he would be just four seats shy forging a governing coalition and keeping his job.

The hardcore religious Sadrist wing of the INA, however, appeared to balk at the partnership, according to one of its senior leaders who spoke on condition of anonymity because the sensitive negotiations were ongoing. The Sadrists have a long standing grudge against al-Maliki.

“We have not yet discussed the nomination for the premiership, but we are adamant about nominating Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for this post,” said Hashim al-Moussawi, a Basra lawmaker from al-Maliki’s party. He said a deal was imminent.

None of Iraq’s six major political coalitions won a clear majority in the election, and al-Maliki’s group came in second, two seats behind the alliance headed by his archrival, former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Lacking an undisputed winner, the coalitions now are brokering deals among themselves to combine political forces for a parliamentary power grab.

Tuesday was also marked with a solemn reminder of Iraq’s brutal past as the remains of 107 Kurdish children who died in 1988 during the notorious Operation Anfal were brought home to their village of Chamchamal and buried in a mass funeral ceremony.

Their bodies were recently discovered in a mass grave outside Kirkuk.

Nearly 200,000 Kurds were killed during the military assault launched by Saddam Hussein’s regime that demolished homes and uprooted residents in effort to squash Kurdish unrest in the north.

“The camp where we were kept was worse than the Nazis,” said Raheem Karim, 55, who lost six relatives, including a child, in the prison.

Chamchamal is near the city of Sulaimaniyah, 160 miles (260 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, in northern Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region.

Associated Press Writers Hamid Ahmed and David Rising in Baghdad and Yahya Barzanji in Sulaimaniyah contributed to this report.

will not be displayed