Thursday, February 22, 2018

Attacks targeting Shiites kill 72 in Iraq

BAGHDAD — A wave of bombings targeting Shiites killed 72 people Thursday, deepening sectarian tensions that exploded after the last American troops left the country in mid December.

The coordinated attacks bore the hallmarks of Sunni insurgents linked to al-Qaida, although there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The bombings began in the morning when explosions hit two Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, killing at least 27 people. A few hours later, a suicide attack hit pilgrims heading to the holy Shiite city of Karbala, killing 45, said provincial official Quosay al-Abadi. The explosions were near Nasiriyah, about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad. Hospital officials confirmed the causalities.

The blasts occurred in the run-up to Arbaeen, a Shiite holy day that marks the end of 40 days of mourning that follow the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, a revered Shiite figure. During this time, Shiite pilgrims from across Iraq make their way to Karbala, south of Baghdad.

Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, a Baghdad military spokesman, said the attacks' aim is "to create turmoil among the Iraqi people."

The new violence will only exacerbate the country's political crisis pitting politicians from the Shiite majority who dominate the government against the Sunni minority, which reigned supreme under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government issued an arrest warrant for the top Sunni politician last month. The Sunni official, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, is holed up in Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north, effectively out of reach of state security forces.

Fears have already been high that the sectarian tensions could reignite Shiite-Sunni warfare that just a few years ago pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war.

Comments
Joe Henderson: Farewell to Eddie Card, sports enthusiast, gentleman and friend

Joe Henderson: Farewell to Eddie Card, sports enthusiast, gentleman and friend

There was an empty seat in the pew at the back of my church Sunday. It was where Eddie Card used to sit.That’s where I would see Eddie and his wonderful wife, Joan, nearly every week. He would always extend his hand and give mine a firm shake.He woul...
Updated: 3 minutes ago
Procession planned for ‘America’s Pastor,’ Rev. Billy Graham

Procession planned for ‘America’s Pastor,’ Rev. Billy Graham

MONTREAT, N.C. — The Rev. Billy Graham, the magnetic, movie-star-handsome preacher who became a singular force in postwar American religious life, a confidant of presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died. He was 9...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Aide who claimed students were ‘actors’ had IRS troubles. So why did Shawn Harrison hire him?

Aide who claimed students were ‘actors’ had IRS troubles. So why did Shawn Harrison hire him?

Facing Democratic criticism and national news coverage over fired legislative aide Benjamin Kelly, state Rep. Shawn Harrison said that he hired Kelly despite a conviction for not filing tax returns because, "I believe in second chances."Harrison...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Forecast: Warm weather persists in Tampa Bay, but slightly cooler weekend ahead

Forecast: Warm weather persists in Tampa Bay, but slightly cooler weekend ahead

Tampa Bay has broken record high temperatures since Monday, and Thursday should be no different.Happy Thursday! We are rolling through the week and once again temperatures will be near record highs this afternoon. If we break the record high of 85° t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Grapefruit League 2018 day-by-day schedule

Grapefruit League 2018 day-by-day schedule

Here is the 2018 day-by-day Grapefruit League schedule. Check out the Tampa Bay Times’ 2018 Spring Training Guide for stadium locations, contact information, team-by-team schedules, ticket information and more.Thursday, Feb. 22U. of Tampa vs. Philade...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida education news: Guns in school, social media threats, Florida’s motto and more

Florida education news: Guns in school, social media threats, Florida’s motto and more

GUNS: Striking while the iron is hot, Florida's superintendents urge Gov. Rick Scott during a roundtable on school safety to make it difficult — or impossible — to get assault weapons. • Schools in Pasco County and Hillsbo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Man rescued after boat swept away, capsizes in Little Manatee River

Man rescued after boat swept away, capsizes in Little Manatee River

RUSKIN — A man was rescued early Thursday morning after Hillsborough County deputies say his boat was swept away by a strong tide and capsized in the Little Manatee River.According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, a 911 call was received ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Rubio taken to task; Romano on the GOP lobby; St. Pete’s World Liquors sign finds new home; what if Rays know what they’re doing?

The Daystarter: Rubio taken to task; Romano on the GOP lobby; St. Pete’s World Liquors sign finds new home; what if Rays know what they’re doing?

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• Temperatures peaked Wednesday, but don’t expect cooler air to return just yet. Highs will remain in the mid 80s through next week, according to 10Weather WTSP. And it will re...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Calvary Christian baseball team opens title defense with heavy hearts

Calvary Christian baseball team opens title defense with heavy hearts

CLEARWATER — Braden Halladay admits there will be some emotions when he takes the mound Friday for his first start of the season. How can there not be?His father, Roy, won't be watching.Roy Halladay, one of the best Major League Baseball pitche...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Make it difficult – or impossible – to get assault weapons, say school superintendents at governor’s roundtable

Make it difficult – or impossible – to get assault weapons, say school superintendents at governor’s roundtable

Pinellas County school superintendent Mike Grego was one of five superintendents invited to Tallahassee this week by Gov. Rick Scott to discuss how to prevent another school shooting like last week's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Hig...
Updated: 3 hours ago