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Iraq: Dozens killed, injured as parliament discusses escalating violence - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Residents gather at the site a day after a triple bomb attack in Baghdad's Sadr City, on September 22, 2013.  (REUTERS/Saad Shalash)

Residents gather at the site a day after a triple bomb attack in Baghdad’s Sadr City, on September 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Saad Shalash)

Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—At least 21 people were killed and 50 injured in a series of bombings that ripped through several Baghdad markets on Thursday, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.

Interior ministry sources said at least 15 people were killed and 35 were injured in blasts that targeted a market in Sabi Al-Bour, in the north of Baghdad.

Another official from the interior ministry confirmed the death of seven people and 15 injuries after blasts hit another market in Dora, a city with a Sunni majority.

This month’s death toll from acts of violence carried out by unknown militias has reached 700.

Meanwhile, sources from the parliamentary committee for security and defense played down the outcomes of a meeting of the committee held at the parliament with Baghdad’s Operation Command and the leaders of the political blocs in the country.

Kurdistan Alliance MP Shwan Taha, a member of the parliamentary committee for security and defense, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We have been waiting for this meeting for a long time to have a frank and serious discussion with the security apparatuses and chiefs in the light of the continuing deterioration of security.”

Shwan said that the “outcome of the meeting was disappointing on all levels,” particularly because it only included “Baghdad’s operation command, not the chiefs of security and intelligence apparatuses, or anti-terrorism or SWAT teams.”

“The Baghdad operation command is only a part of the picture—not all of it—and it is only a field command,” he said, adding, “We wanted to discuss plans, measures, suitable mechanisms, flaws, and how to contribute to working out solutions, but this did not happen.”

Taha also lamented the absence of the “leaders of the blocs” and that “other than the members of the committee, only five MPs attended.”

When asked about the issues discussed in the meeting, Taha said: “What we heard from the operation command were unconvincing justifications . .  . and we could not obtain satisfactory answers to two questions” about the main reasons for the security breaches and the frequent attacks and the ones behind the forced evacuation of Iraqi citizens in some provinces.

Meanwhile, Baghdad’s Operation Command said it seized pamphlets instigating sectarian violence and a number of bombs and equipment in the capital.

The command spokesman, Sa’ad Ma’an, said: “Over the past 24 hours, the security forces have carried out different operations that resulted in the seizure of 27 bombs, 22 mortar shells, 122 grenades, and seven home-made rocket launchers.”