Baghdad residents survey car bomb aftermath

Residents inspect the damage caused by Monday’s car bomb attack near the Baghdad Shi’ite district of Sadr City. (Reuters)

Residents of Habibiya district east of Baghdad on Tuesday inspected the damage caused by a car bomb attack on the day before.

The blast targeted people gathered at a car market in Habibiya neighborhood near Shi’ite district of Sadr City, killing 10 people and wounding 12 others.

It was one of several car bombs and blasts in cities across Iraq on Monday, just days before provincial elections.
No one claimed responsibility for the attacks in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmato and other towns to the north to south, but al Qaeda’s local wing is waging a campaign against Shi’ites and the government to stoke sectarian confrontation.

Iraqis will vote on Saturday (April 20) for members of provincial councils in a ballot that is seen as a test of political stability since the last U.S. troops withdrew in December 2011.

The ballot for nearly 450 provincial council seats will also be an important measure of Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s political muscle against his Sunni and Shi’ite rivals before a parliamentary election in 2014.

A dozen candidates have already been killed so far in campaigning, including two moderate Sunni politicians over the weekend.

Monday’s attacks were mostly car bombs, including two blasts that killed two passengers at a checkpoint as they were on their way into the Baghdad airport site. Attacks on the heavily guarded airport and the fortified International Zone housing many embassies are rare.

Last Update: 05:55 KSA 08:55 - GMT 05:55