(MENAFN - Arab News) Car bombs struck two outdoor markets and a group of taxi vans in Shiite areas across Iraq yesterday, killing at least 36 people and wounding nearly 100 in the bloodiest day in more than two months, as minority Sunnis staged mass anti-government protests in a sign of mounting sectarian tensions.
Tens of thousands of Sunni protesters rallied in five major cities against Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki.
In Samarrah, Sheikh Mohammed Jumaa sent a warning to the prime minister. "Stop tyranny and oppression," he said. "We want our rights. You will witness what other tyrants have witnessed before you."
In Fallujah and Ramadi, demonstrators blocked the main highway to Jordan and performed Friday prayers.
Other rallies were held in Mosul and Tikrit, as part of weekly demonstrations.
Earlier yesterday, suspected insurgents detonated five car bombs, killing at least 37 people and wounding 97, health and police officials said.
The bombings targeted an outdoor pet market in Baghdad's northern Kazimyah neighborhood, a vegetable market in the town of Shomali in Hillah province, south of the Iraqi capital, and a stand for taxi vans on the edge of the southern city of Karbala.
The assailants targeted particularly crowded areas. Iraqis converge on markets every Friday to shop and spend family time. The vans on the outskirts of Karbala were waiting for passengers.