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Jun 26th, 2009


Angry Iraqis Demand Protection from Bombings

String of blasts casts doubt on Iraqi forces’ ability to keep lid on resilient insurgency as U.S. forces begin pull-back

Men carry the coffin of a relative killed in a bom...
Mourners carry the coffin of a relative killed when a bomb exploded at a Baghdad market on June 24, 2009. (Photo credit: Karim Kadim / AP)

Reuters and The Associated Press via MSNBC.com
June 25, 2009

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Hundreds of angry Iraqis gathered on Thursday around the wreckage of a market bombing in Baghdad where 78 people died, demanding better protection from the government after U.S. troops pull back to bases.

A string of blasts has cast doubt on Iraqi forces’ ability to keep the lid on a stubborn insurgency. U.S. and Iraqi officials have warned that more bombs and attacks are to be expected in the days before and after U.S. troops complete a withdrawal from cities and major urban centers on June 30.

More than 160 people have died in bombings over the past five days.

The violence continued Thursday as a bombing at a bus station in a Shiite neighborhood in southwest Baghdad killed at least seven people and wounded 31 others, police said. Another three bombs and a mortar killed two more people around the capital.

The U.S. military said nine American soldiers were wounded in two roadside bomb attacks against a convoy in eastern Baghdad.

And in the once-turbulent but recently secure western city of Fallujah, officials said a roadside bomb destroyed a police vehicle and killed all five policemen inside. …

Residents at the site of Wednesday’s bombing in Baghdad’s Sadr City slum sobbed and hugged each other, and many furiously cursed the authorities. The blast came four days after U.S. soldiers handed control of the area to Iraqi forces.

Wednesday’s attack also wounded 143 people. It was the deadliest in more than two years in the area, which is heavily controlled and where people entering the district have to pass through numerous checkpoints manned by Iraqi army and police. …

According to Iraqi Army Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta, Wednesday’s bomb was built using about 440 pounds of high explosives packed with steel bearings and other metal objects. It was apparently loaded on a motorcycle pulling a cart.

“Most of victims of the explosion that occurred in Sadr City had small steel balls and nails in their bodies,” said Dr. Mahmoud Mizaal at Sadr City hospital.

Most of the attacks so far have targeted Shiites or communities with predominantly Shiite populations. The killing spree began on June 20 with a massive truck bomb that killed 82 people in a mainly Shiite town near the northern city of Kirkuk, which was the deadliest bombing so far this year. …

Thursday’s deadly bombing in Baghdad occurred when a parked car bomb exploded inside the Baiyaa district’s bus station, police officials told The Associated Press. …

———

Late update

Motorcycle Bombs Kill 20 in Baghdad

Video

Motorcycle bomb hits Iraq market (MSNBC, June 26, 2009) — A motorcycle strapped with explosives blows up in a crowded Baghdad market, the latest attack in Iraq. MSNBC.com’s Dara Brown reports. (00:42)


June 26, 2009

BAGHDAD — Motorcycle bombs killed at least 20 people in separate attacks in Baghdad Friday, most in a crowded bazaar, part of an apparent trend toward increased use of motorcycles to thwart stepped-up security measures.

The attacks were the latest in a week of violence that has killed more than 250 people, with just four days to go before the deadline for U.S. combat troops to withdraw from cities.

The spike has raised fresh doubts about the ability of Iraqi forces to provide security and fight a stubborn insurgency as their American partners become less visible. …

The deadliest blast occurred just after 9 a.m. when a booby-trapped motorcycle exploded in a market packed with young people buying or selling the vehicles in central Baghdad, according to police and hospital officials. …

Attacks in Iraq have continued on a daily basis despite the security gains of the past two years, but many of the recent bombings have been larger in terms of numbers killed.

Police and hospital officials gave the death toll and said more than 50 people also were wounded.

Hours later, another explosives-laden motorcycle exploded in western Baghdad, killing at least one civilian and wounding three others.

New weapon?

The use of motorcycles underscores the resilience of militants as they adopt new tactics to penetrate the concrete walls and other measures aimed at preventing car bombs and suicide attacks.

The Associated Press has recorded five booby-trapped motorcycle bombings this month in Iraq that have killed at least 104 people, including one on June 24 in Baghdad’s Sadr City that killed 78 civilians and injured another 143 — one of the deadliest bombings this year.

Before that, no parked motorcycle bombings had been reported in Baghdad since Aug. 19, 2007, when a motorcycle exploded in central Baghdad, killing one civilian and injuring four others.

Between January 25, 2007 and December 4, 2008, only five incidents involving motorcycle bombs were reported around Iraq, killing 25 people and wounding 110 more. …

Followers of anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose movement is gearing up to contest national elections on Jan. 30, blamed the Americans for the recent bombings, saying they were using them as an excuse not to withdraw completely.

Sadrist protesters took to the streets in Baghdad’s Sadr City district and other cities after Friday prayers, burning American flags and denouncing the violence. …

———

Related report

Bomb Kills 69 at Shiite Market in Baghdad

Image: Residents stand at the site of a bombing in the main Shiite district in Baghdad
Residents stand at the site of a bombing in the main Shiite district in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, June 25, 2009. (Photo credit: Karim Kadim / AP)


June 24, 2009

BAGHDAD — A bomb ripped through a crowded market in Baghdad’s main Shiite district on Wednesday, killing at least 69 people and wounding more than 100 less than a week before a deadline for U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq’s urban areas.

A series of blasts this week have killed more than 160 people, as U.S. and Iraqi officials warned they expected more violence before the U.S. withdrawal from cities.

The 7 p.m. blast at the market appeared to be timed to maximize casualties by striking shoppers buying food for their evening meal.

The explosives were loaded on a motorized pushcart and shrapnel was blown more than 600 yards away, a police officer said. …

Four days earlier, a truck bombing killed 82 people in a mainly Shiite town near the northern city of Kirkuk, which was the deadliest bombing so far this year.

Back-to-back suicide bombings by female attackers also killed 71 people outside a Shiite shrine in Baghdad on April 24. …

Iraqi forces ready?

The recent high-profile bombings have raised concerns about the readiness of Iraqi forces to provide security around the country without the immediate help of the U.S. troops remaining in Iraq.

According to a security pact that came into force in January, most of the American troops will be housed on large bases outside the capital and other cities — unable to react unless called on for help by the Iraqis.

Many Iraqis oppose the presence of the Americans, whom they consider an occupying force, and military officials hope the withdrawal timeline will help stem support for the insurgency. …

———

Earlier report — 6/21/09

Truck bomb kills at least 75 in northern Iraq, 250 wounded





3 Responses to “Iraqis Demand Better Protection”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Massive Bomb Attack on Iraq Govt Says:

    […] June 24, 2009 — Bomb rips through crowded market in Baghdad’s Sadr City, killing 78. […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Horner Campaign at Granite City Says:

    […] Iraqis Demand Better Protection […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Bachmann Flying High in Iowa Says:

    […] Iraqis Demand Better Protection […]

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