Blast hits Sunni mosque as Maliki orders security overhaul

Residents stand amid rubble at blast scene in Tuz Khormatu town in northern Iraq May 21, 2013. (Reuters)

As Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered a shakeup of senior security officers on Tuesday after a spate of bombings killed more than 380 people this month, a car bomb detonated near a Sunni mosque in the west of the capital, killing 11 people.

The blast, which took place in Abu Ghraib wounded 21 people, police said, according to Reuters.

Earlier Tuesday evening, Maliki named Lieutenant Abdulamir Al-Shimari as head of Baghdad’s Operations Command, after he sacked Staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Hashem.

Maliki, “after consultation with security officials, issues orders ... for changes in the operations commands and commanders of divisions,” an Iraqi senior official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The shakeup comes a day after Maliki said he would change the country’s security strategy as well as top personnel.

“We are about to make changes in the high and middle positions of those responsible for security, and the security strategy,” Maliki said on Monday.

Earlier Tuesday, several bomb blasts also killed at least 12 people in Iraq, police said, a day after more than 70 died in attacks on majority Shi’ites, stoking fears of all-out sectarian war with minority Sunnis, Reuters reported.

More than 200 people have been killed in the past week as Sunni-Shi’ite tensions, fuelled by the civil war in neighboring Syria, threaten to plunge Iraq back into communal bloodletting.

In Tuesday’s violence, three roadside bombs exploded near a livestock market in the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk, killing six people and shredding the bodies of humans and animals alike.

Ten years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s Sunnis, Shi’ites and Kurds have yet to find a stable power-sharing deal and violence is again on the upswing.

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Last Update: 19:47 KSA 22:47 - GMT 19:47
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