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. (Read more Baghdad stories.)