A wave of apparently coordinated bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has killed at least 68 people.
The bombings are the worst in months – and follow within days of the withdrawal of US troops.
They come amid fears of rising sectarian tensions as the unity government faces internal divisions.
Host Lisa Mullins talks with reporter Sahar Issa in Baghdad.
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Lisa Mullins: I’m Lisa Mullins and this is The World. A series of bomb attacks shook the city of Baghdad today. More than 60 people were killed, nearly 200 were injured. Iraq’s interior ministry says there were 14 blasts across the city in a period of two hours. The bombings are the worst in months and they come at a sensitive time. The last US troops just left Iraq on Sunday. Since then, tension with in the country’s unity government has escalated rapidly. And now there are fears of renewed sectarian violence. McClatchy journalist, Sahar Issa, lives in Baghdad. What did you hear today?
Sahar Issa: We woke up to the explosions. The house shook. One of the explosions was very close. It was not more than 100 meters down the road from where I live, and the other one was about 1/2 kilometer away. Iraqis have become quite skillful in determining whether the explosions are IEDs, roadside bombs, or car bombs from the way the vibrations are received. These vibrations we felt through the ground, telling us that these were car bombs, and so they were.
Mullins: In the aftermath of the explosions what happened?
Issa: We can hear the sirens, we can shootings, we can hear shouting, we can hear all sorts of sounds that were quite terrifying that we haven’t heard for quite a while. Roads were blocked, neighborhoods were shutdown, we couldn’t get to work.
Mullins: So when that happens and the roads are blocked, you say you can’t get to work, what do people do? What did you do?
Issa: People who have to go out will walk out. For me, I can work from my home, I have all the facilities, so I called into my boss and told him it is really too dangerous to go out, and the roads are blocked, especially our neighborhood.
Mullins: You’re lucky enough as a journalist to be able to do some of your work at home when it’s too dangerous to go out. What about some of your neighbors, those people who have children, can they go to school? Can people walk outside? Do they see this as possibly the start of more violence?
Issa: To tell you the truth it is difficult. Iraqis have been through so much, they have seen so much violence, it is difficult to say that this is the beginning of a new stage of violence like we once had in 2006 and 2007. People are hoping that this will be just a day of violence, a day where [inaudible 2:33] at each other, a day in which the other factions that you must know, Iraq is a battleground for power, regional powers from all Iraq, when they are fighting their own fight on Iraqi ground, just a day of violence. Iraqis hope that they can go to sleep today knowing the losses of today, hoping for a quick recovery for the injured, but nevertheless hoping that tomorrow will be just another day. And the people who did the violence today have had their fill.
Mullins: Sahar Issa is a reporter with McClatchy newspapers speaking to us from Baghdad. Thanks a lot.
Issa: Thank you.
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