The two blasts hit government buildings in Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar Province, on Wednesday, leaving more than 20 people dead and nearly 60 people injured. Officials blame Al Qaeda in Iraq for the attacks.
One of the largest coordinated bombings to hit Iraq in recent months shook the central city of Ramadi on Wednesday morning. The two blasts hit government buildings in the provincial capital of Anbar Province, leaving more than 20 people dead and nearly 60 people injured.
The governor of Anbar was among those wounded in the attack, and security officials say he may have been the bombers’ primary target. Officials are blaming Al Qaeda in Iraq for the attack.
The bombings in Ramadi underscore the increasing instability in Iraq as the US continues to reduce its military presence and the nation prepares for national elections in March. Many of the sectarian issues that divided Iraq during the worst of the fighting in 2006 and 2007 continue to plague the fledging government, which many Iraqis still perceive as too heavily dominated by a Shiite majority.
“The whole security situation is very fragile,” says Ahmad Moussalli, a professor of political science at the American University of Beirut. He adds that violence is likely to continue as long as rival sectarian groups – namely the Sunnis and Shiites – perceive uneven government influence. “You can expect the return of rebels, revolutionaries, or Al Qaeda groups to try to rebalance the power. … I think Iraq will take a more sectarian turn and this is only the tip of the iceberg.”
Wednesday’s bombing also renewed concerns about Iraq’s security forces. Throughout the war, there have been problems with militants infiltrating Army and police units, and security officials say that this latest suicide bombing was carried out by a man wearing an Iraqi Army uniform.