BAGHDAD — At least 48 people were killed and 121 wounded when a booby-trapped car exploded outside a funeral tent in a Shiite neighborhood of northern Baghdad on Thursday, escalating an upsurge of violence across the country that is destabilizing the new Iraqi government before it has completely formed.
In scenes of chaos after the blast, enraged residents and mourners threw rocks and stones at police and members of the emergency services to prevent them from reaching the site. The reaction reflected a building sense of frustration with the government's failure to halt a wave of deadly bombings that began more than a week ago.
The afternoon explosion occurred in the Shiite neighborhood of Shuala, which is known as a stronghold for supporters of the anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. It has also recently fallen under the influence of a radical and violent breakaway Shiite group, Asaib al-Haq.
The Sunni extremist Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group that includes the radical Al-Qaida in Iraq organization, claimed responsibility for a string of suicide bombings last week targeting security forces in two mostly Sunni provinces north of Baghdad, in which dozens died.
But there has been no claim of responsibility for an equally deadly string of car bombings in the days that followed, in which dozens of Shiite pilgrims were killed in the holy Shiite city of Karbala in southern Iraq.
Thursday's attack was the biggest in Baghdad in months, though violence has been escalating in recent days in the capital. Three other people were killed earlier in the day in three smaller bombings elsewhere in the city targeting government officials and police.