Two suicide bombers killed 120 people and wounded more than 200 in attacks near a Shi'ite holy shrine and a police recruiting center on Thursday, the bloodiest day in Iraq for four months.
Seven U.S. soldiers were killed in two roadside bomb attacks, three bombs exploded in Baghdad and insurgents sabotaged an oil pipeline near the northern city of Kirkuk, causing a huge fire.
Coming a day after 58 people died in a wave of bombings and shootings, the latest bloodshed ratcheted up tension between Iraq's minority Sunni Arabs and majority Shi'ite Muslims...
"This is a war against Shi'ites," said Rida Jawad al-Takia, a senior member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), one of the country's leading Shi'ite parties.
"Apparently to the terrorists, no Shi'ite child or woman should live," he told Reuters. "We are really worried. It seems they want a civil war."
The bombings shattered hopes Iraq might start 2006 on a more peaceful footing than in 2005, allowing for a swift withdrawal of some of the 150,000 U.S. troops in the country.
In all, violence has killed more than 240 people and wounded more than 280 in the five days since the New Year started, a death toll comparable with some of the nation's bloodiest weeks since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.
Gee, and it's only gonna cost us $1-2 trillion
. Quite a bargain...