At least 63 people have been killed as powerful explosions ripped Baghdad early today in the first major violence in Iraq since US troops left. Nearly 200 people were wounded as bombers believed linked to Al-Qaeda in Iraq targeted schools, grocery stores and government buildings, reports the New York Times. The attacks come amid increasing upset in Iraq's fledgling government as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki threatens to abandon a government power-sharing arrangement. Observers fear that worsening relationships among the ethnic groups will inspire further terrorism that will plunge the country into chaos.
But the head of the government's security committee said the bombers are simply "sending a message to say that 'we are still here.' I think there will be more cowardly attacks in the coming days but we will face them and everything will be under control," he added. One shopkeeper, however, standing on a pile of glass and wood that used to be his brand new electronics store said: “Everybody has a dream. Now I have a new dream: To leave this country.” (Read more Baghdad stories.)