Eight Iraqi cities were hit on Tuesday in what appeared to be coordinated attacks, mostly against Shiite pilgrims and police and government officials. They served as a gloomy reminder of the violence that has wreaked chaos across Iraq since the US invasion exactly nine years ago.
Insurgents plotting to derail next week's Arab League meeting in Baghdad unleashed bloody attacks across Iraq, killing 51 people. Bombs struck Shiite pilgrims in the holy city of Karbala, set cars on fire in Kirkuk and targeted security forces and government officials in Baghdad and surrounding cities.
Iraqis out shopping or eating at restaurants on the bright, spring day fell victim to the onslaught. More than 200 people were wounded in less than six hours. A statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Turkey strongly condemns the attacks and expressed condolences to the families of the victims.
A bomb exploded near the Foreign Ministry and offices for security directors overseeing the summit. The Iraqi wing of al-Qaeda said it was behind the bombing outside the Foreign Ministry.
Turkey said it regrets that one of the blasts was close to the Foreign Ministry building and added that Turkey will continue to show solidarity with the Iraqi people in their struggle against terrorism.