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Kadhimiya and Adhamiya, symbols of Iraqi sectarianism

Baghdad's Kadhimiya and Adhamiya suburbs face each other on opposite sides of the Tigris and also reflect the sectarian division from which Iraq suffers.
Residents and Iraqi security forces inspect the site where a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest at the entrance to Kadhimiya, a mostly Shi'ite Muslim district in northwest Baghdad, Iraq July 24, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily - RTSJDJ7

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Following the July 24 suicide attack in the Shiite area of Kadhimiya in Baghdad, member of parliament (MP) Awatef Naameh, a Shiite herself, asked why Kadhimiya had been targeted and not the neighboring majority Sunni suburb of Adhamiya as well. Naameh called the attack, which killed 21 and wounded 36, a “genocide targeting Iraq’s Shiites.” Her statement raised the ire of Sunni MP Liqaa Wardi, who deemed it “sectarian incitement.” The Islamic State (IS) ultimately claimed responsibility.

The statements by the two MPs reflect the sectarian conflict that has simmered and sometimes flared in Iraq, at one point erupting in civil war, between 2006 and 2008, with Kadhimiya and Adhamiya serving as two opposing battlefields. These neighboring areas — which face each other on opposite banks of the Tigris River — date back to Baghdad's early days, some 1,000 years ago, and share a history of coexistence disturbed by bursts of violent conflict.

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