A car bomb ripped through a Baghdad neighborhood late Tuesday, killing at least 26 people and wounding 33 in the latest in a series of attacks targeting mostly Shiite Muslim districts in the Iraqi capital, according to local media reports Wednesday.
The suicide strike occurred at a police checkpoint at an entrance to the heavily guarded Kadhimiyah neighborhood, home to a revered Shiite shrine. The bomb was reportedly detonated after 10 p.m., when civilians would have been heading to the shrine for prayers and evening meals during the Ramadan daylight fasting period.
The blast was at least the third such attack Tuesday on predominantly Shiite areas of the capital, according to Iraqi media reports.
The pro-government TV station Al-Sumariyah reported another suicide car bombing in the Nahrawan neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, as well as mortars falling on the Saba Al-Suboor district. At least five were killed and 22 were wounded in those attacks, according to local media reports.
Iraq is undergoing a surge of violence in the wake of a Sunni Muslim uprising against the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. Last month, Sunni factions, led by the Al Qaeda renegade group known as the Islamic State, stormed through the northern city of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and captured large sections of northern and central Iraq.
The Iraqi government and Shiite clerics have exhorted youths to sign up to fight against “terrorists,” referring to Sunni rebels. The move has prompted thousands of Shiite men to join paramilitary groups organized largely along sectarian lines, raising the specter of a resurgence of the Sunni-Shiite violence that engulfed the country in 2006.
Bulos is a special correspondent.