Car bomb claims 10 lives in Iraq's Shia south

A car bomb exploded at a bus terminal in Iraq’s predominantly Shia Muslim south on Sunday, killing at least 10 people, police said, as the country’s delicate sectarian balance comes under growing strain.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Sunni Muslim insurgents have stepped up their efforts to undermine Iraq’s Shia-led government and foment inter-communal conflict this year.

The bomb exploded in the town of Garmat Ali, around 20 km north of the usually stable
oil hub of Basra.

“I was thrown back by the explosion. Then I stood up and ran back to help the victims,” said bus driver Hameed Salman, his white clothes stained with blood.

“I carried five bodies myself and put them in some civilian cars to take them to the hospital,” he added.

Three police sources said ten people had died. The head of the provincial security committee, Ali Ghanim al-Maliki, confirmed the death toll at 10.

Another car bomb went off in a carpark for government offices in the city of Basra itself, wounding two people, police said.

Iraq’s power-sharing government has been all but paralyzed since US troops left more than a year ago. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shia, is facing protests in the country’s Sunni heartland, which shares a porous border with Syria.
Violence has increased with the swell of Sunni opposition to Maliki and Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate has urged protesters to take up arms against the government.

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