(BAGHDAD) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is accusing some lawmakers of fueling the latest sectarian unrest that’s responsible for close to 250 deaths in his country over a five-day period.
The Shiite leader also blamed large Sunni demonstrations for counteracting his attempts at achieving national unity almost a year-and-a-half after U.S. forces pulled out of Iraq.
Sunnis and Kurds contend its al-Maliki who’s stoking sectarian tensions by marginalizing minorities.
Either way, violence has picked up during the past two months, with reports Monday of at least 95 deaths in predominantly Shiite areas of the country. Two days earlier, insurgents struck largely Sunni regions, killing dozens.
Monday’s attacks included explosions reported in 10 separate sections of Baghdad where Shiites congregate in marketplaces and other busy spots. As many as 50 people were killed in the Baghdad attacks, which also left at least 150 others wounded.
Al Qaeda-linked groups in Iraq are believed to be the main culprits, but Sunni and Shiite militants are also suspected of instilling violence.
While al-Maliki has called for calm, some Sunni tribesman, particularly in Anbar province where many of the protests are taking place, are promising to keep fighting back against security forces sent by the Shiite-led government.
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Ralph Ellis and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN