12/09/2009, 00.00
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Baghdad massacre “barbaric and reckless” response to election deal, bishop says

The death toll in yesterday’s multiple bombings in Baghdad hits 127 with more than 500 wounded. Mgr Warduni talks about a “demoralised” population, victim of “party and ethnic interests”. Source tell AsiaNews that the “path towards elections is already blocked even before it is cleared.”
Baghdad (AsiaNews) – A day after five attacks left scores of people dead and injured in the streets of the Iraqi capital, Mgr Shlemon Warduni, auxiliary bishop of Baghdad, spoke to AsiaNews, saying that these acts of violence were a barbaric and reckless” response to the recent deal on the election law. It struck “innocent civilians, including women and children,” who are victims of “party, ethnic and foreign interests” before which “we feel a sense of impotence.”

Yesterday at 10.25 am local time, a series of explosions gutted whole areas of the capital. According to the latest tally, 127 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded. Five car bombs tore through various parts of the city in quick succession a few minutes from another.

Terrorists targeted Nahda, where the Interior Ministry has some offices, and Mustansiriya University, which is not too far from the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry. The headquarters of the Catholic Chaldean Patriarchate were also damaged. The shockwave blew out the building’s windows and doors.

“Iraqis are sick of this series of barbaric and reckless attacks,” Mgr Warduni said, “which have killed, maimed and wounded innocent civilians, including women and children.”

The Church is concerned by the drift towards violence and terror that is leaving its bloody traces across Iraq. “The lack of security is driving people to flee,” and an atmosphere of “demoralization, fear and suspicion” is setting in.

For the auxiliary bishop of Baghdad, the “government does not have the means to enforce peace.” The law is not respected and “many foreign enemies of the country are making matters worse.”

“Iraq faces a serious political problem,” he explained, because of a clash of “interests that involves the entire international community. The poor and the population are caught in a trap that they cannot escape.”

The attacks the day after the deal on the election law are a sign that “party and ethnic interests” pursue violence rather politics, the prelate said.

“The world is moving away from God and is going its own way,” Mgr Warduni said. “Christians are weak. We must show greater Christian faith and pray for peace.”

On Monday, a few hours after the deal on the electoral law was reached, a source told AsiaNews that the latter was only a “truce”, and that tensions remained high.

“Hitting the Interior Ministry sent a clear political message,” the anonymous source said. “The path towards elections is already blocked even before it is cleared because political leaders are unable to ensure security.”

Government officials blame al-Qaeda and Baa‘th party members of former President Saddam Hussein for the attacks

“In reality, the violence is due to internal conflicts between ethnic and political groups,” the source said. It is a power struggle “between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds.” (DS)

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