At least 28 killed in Iraq campaign rally blasts

At least 28 killed in Iraq campaign rally blasts
Fri Apr 25, 2014 20:45:40

A series of explosions killed at least 28 people and injured dozens at a Shi'ite political party's rally in Iraq's capital ahead of the country's parliamentary election on Friday, police and medical sources said.

The explosions struck as some 10,000 people had gathered at the Industrial Stadium in eastern Baghdad for the Asaib Ahl al-Haq rally, in which the Shiite group planned to announce its candidates for Iraq's parliamentary election Wednesday.

An Associated Press reporter at the rally heard intense gunfire follow the blasts. Attendees fled to a nearby building under construction in the stadium complex as female parliamentary candidates screamed.

Police and medical said several of the wounded were in critical condition. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to release the information.

The blasts Friday are to highlight the foreign-hatched sectarian violence that's plagued Iraq recently. Last year, the death toll in the country climbed to its highest levels since the worst of the country's sectarian bloodletting between 2006 and 2008.

The United Nations says 8,868 people were killed in 2013, and more than 1,400 people were killed in the first two months of this year alone.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though an al-Qaida spin-off group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant uses similar tactics.

More than 9,000 candidates are taking part in Wednesday's elections and will vie for 328 seats in parliament.


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