Several car bombs and shootings have taken place in the Shia and Sunni areas of Iraq on May 21. More than 57 people have been killed in the latest string of violence and fears of increasing sectarian bloodshed appear to be returning to the province. Since the third week of May 2013, more than 200 people have been wounded in the spate of violence which seems to be targeting Shia and Sunni civilians. The attacks on May 21 were aimed towards obtaining maximum casualties, as these took place in crowded bus stops and market places. A sense of deja vu seems to be emanating, similar to the attacks which took Iraq to the brink of civil war in 2006-2007.
The worst part of the attacks on May 21 was seen in Baghdad, where nine car bombs exploded in crowded market spaces as well as parts of Shia neighbourhoods, killing at least 33 persons and injuring almost 130, as per local police information. The continuous spate of attacks has exasperated most Iraqis. 23-year old Malik Ibrahim, a resident of Baghdad, summed up he feelings of the civilians, saying, “How long do we have to continue living like this, with all the lies from the government? Whenever they say they have reached a solution, the bombings come back stronger than before. We're fed up with them and we can't tolerate this anymore.”
Apart from Baghdad, the Shia dominated city of Basra in southern Iraq also witnessed violence in the form of two car bombs, one of which exploded outside a restaurant and another at the main bus station. As a result of this, at least 13 civilians were killed and 40 more were wounded, according to information declared by provincial police spokesman Colonel Abdul-Karim al-Zaidi, as well as Riadh Abdul-Amir, Head of the city's health directorate.
In addition to the above, a smaller scale of attack was carried out in Samarra, where a car bomb exploded close to a gathering of pro-government Sunni militia, who were waiting outside a military base to get their salaries. This attack killed three and wounded 13, while gunmen ambushed two police patrols close to the town of Haditha, where eight officers were killed. In the area of Anbar, 13 bodies were located by authorities in a remote desert area. Eight of these bodies belonged to policemen who were kidnapped on May 17. They were killed with a gunshot to each of their head.