The danger and strife in the Middle East was on full display yesterday, as bombs struck Palestine, Iraq and Syria, killing dozens of people and illustrating the precariousness of daily life in the region.
A Palestinian militant, Haytham al-Mishal, 29, was killed while he was riding a motorcycle during an Israeli air strike on Gaza City. At least one other person was reported injured also. The militant group that two weeks ago fired rockets at the southern Israeli city of Eilat claimed Mishal as one of its members.
It was the first deadly air strike in Gaza since November, when a ceasefire ended eight days of fighting between Israel and militants there. But there has been a rise in violence across the Israeli-Gaza border in recent days, as militants fired rockets into Israel, and Israel carried out air strikes, with neither side causing injuries.
In Iraq, five car bombs detonated in predominantly Shiite cities and districts in central and southern Iraq, killing 36 people and wounding dozens, according to Iraqi officials. Though no group has claimed responsibility for the blasts; the coordinated bombing strategy in civilian areas is considered a favorite tactic of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Since last Tuesday, at least 218 people have been killed in Iraq in attacks and battles between gunmen and security forces.
The deadliest attack yesterday was in the southern city of Amarah, where two parked car bombs blew up simultaneously in the early morning near a market and a group of construction workers, killing 18 people and wounding 42, police said.
In Damascus, Syria’s capital, at least 13 people were killed and many more injured by a powerful explosion in a busy commercial district in the central district of Marjeh. Civilians and security personnel are among the dead; officials don’t know who the target was or who was behind the bomb.
Also on Monday, Syria Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi survived a car bomb attack on his convoy in the capital.