By Raheem Salman and Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times –
BAGHDAD — A suicide car bomb detonated Friday at a busy Baghdad intersection as a funeral procession was passing by, killing 32 people and injuring 65, authorities said.
It was the latest violent attack in the Iraqi capital in what seems to be an escalating series of bombings targeting Shiite Muslims. Many Iraqis have voiced fears that their nation could be entering a new phase of sectarian bloodshed.
Iraq’s Sunni Muslim minority has chafed under the leadership of the Shiite-dominated governing bloc ushered in after the U.S.-led invasion of 2003 ousted Saddam Hussein, a secular Sunni. Efforts at political power-sharing have yielded to acrimony.
Violence has dropped in recent years, especially since 2007, but there has been an ominous uptick in recent weeks.
More than 200 people have been killed in attacks since U.S. forces completed their pullout from Iraq in December, according to a tally by the news agency Agence France-Presse.
Friday’s bombing occurred about 11 a.m. in the mostly Shiite Zafraniyah district, close to a police station and a hospital. Many of the dead were police officers from the Shiite-dominated force.
The explosion went off just as a funeral procession was transporting the bodies of three people who had been slain Thursday, officials said. It was unclear whether there was any connection between the bombing and the killings.
Among those killed Friday, witnessed reported, was a woman who sold fish from a cart at the intersection. Rescuers put the woman’s corpse in her cart and took the remains to the hospital, a witness said.
About 15 minutes after the bombing, gunmen in a sedan opened fire at a police checkpoint about 800 yards from the car-bomb site, killing two police officers.
Mohammed Bashar, 35, a witness to the bombing, said the water from the hoses of responding fire trucks turned red from the proliferation of blood at the grisly scene.