Wave of Bombings Targets Iraq's Shiites, Killing 72
Heightens fears that attacks will increase now that US has withdrawn
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 5, 2012 3:06 AM CST
Updated Jan 5, 2012 11:00 AM CST
People gather at the scene of a bomb attack in Sadr City eastern of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012.   (Karim Kadim)
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(Newser) – A wave of bombings targeting Shiites in Iraq killed 72 people today, deepening sectarian tensions that exploded just after the last American troops left the country in mid-December. The bombings began early in the morning when explosions struck two Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, killing at least 27 people. A few hours later, a suicide attack hit Shiite pilgrims heading to the holy Shiite city of Karbala, killing 45; those explosions took place about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad.

Though a military spokesperson says it is too early to say who was behind the attacks, coordinated bombings, particularly those targeting Shiite areas, are the hallmark of Sunni militants linked to al-Qaeda. The early morning blasts followed deadly attacks yesterday that targeted the homes of police officers and a member of a government-allied militia, killing four, including two children.