Iraqi officials confirmed yesterday that they will take over security from exiting British troops in Basra, despite the triple car bomb explosions that claimed as many as 41 lives yesterday in nearby Amara. Local authorities had only recently taken over control of the city from the British military, and multiple Shiite groups have faced off to assert their authority. Officials banned vehicles from the city yesterday in the latest security move.
The attacks were among the deadliest in months and highlight the risks of new Iraqi control of volatile regions. They represented a highly coordinated offense. The first bomb exploded in a parking garage, and two others went off as bystanders rushed to help victims. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki called the attacks a "desperate attempt" to draw attention away from improved security, the New York Times reports. (Read more Iraq stories.)