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Feb 14th, 2009

Dozens Killed as Female Bomber Targets Women, Children

Female suicide bomber blows self up in middle of Shiite religious procession

Image: Site of suicide bombing
A Shiite pilgrim inspects the scene of a suicide bomb attack in Mussayab, south of Baghdad, Iraq on Friday, Feb. 13, 2009. Dozens of people, mostly women and children, were killed in the explosion. (Photo credit: Stringer / Reuters)

Feb. 13, 2009

BAGHDAD — A female suicide bomber struck a tent filled with women and children resting during a pilgrimage south of Baghdad on Friday, killing 40 people and wounding about 80 in the deadliest of three straight days of attacks against Shiite worshippers.

The grisly assault, which also appeared to be the deadliest in Iraq this year, demonstrates the determination of some extremists to re-ignite sectarian warfare. It also underscores how fragile security remains here, even as the U.S. turns over more responsibility to the Iraqis.

Witnesses said many of the injured were hurt in a stampede as terrified survivors — most of them poor Shiites exhausted after days of walking — scrambled away from the tent in terror.

They left behind piles of clothing, small rugs and toddlers strollers, Associated Press Television News video showed. A dismembered leg believed to have been the bombers lay wrapped in an abaya in a cardboard box. …

Attack despite strict security

The bomber was successful in detonating her explosives despite a massive security operation by Iraqi authorities to protect the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims streaming into the Shiite holy city of Karbala for religious rituals that culminate Monday. …

Provincial health official Dr. Mohammed Abbas and the provincial police reported 40 people were killed and 81 wounded. Abbas said most of the victims were women and children.

Casualty figures in Iraq often fluctuate, but if the tally stands, it would be the deadliest attack in the country since Dec. 11, when a suicide bomber killed 55 people at a restaurant near Kirkuk where Kurdish officials were meeting with Arab tribal leaders.

Suicide attacks

The latest attack occurred one day after a suicide bomber killed eight people and wounded more than 50 in Karbala.

And on Wednesday, at least 12 people were killed and more than 40 wounded in a series of bombings in Baghdad targeting pilgrims traveling to Karbala.

At least 36 people were killed Jan. 6 during a suicide attack against Shiite worshippers in Baghdad.

U.S. officials have said violence has dropped by nearly 90 percent since the bloodiest days of 2006 and 2007, when Shiite-Sunni fighting pushed the country to the bring of all-out sectarian civil war. …

Even though violence has fallen off, the number of female suicide bombers in Iraq has been growing. Last year, they attempted or successfully carried out 32 attacks, compared with eight in 2007, according to U.S. military figures. …

Last month, police arrested a middle-aged woman, Samira Ahmed Jassim, for allegedly recruiting female suicide bombers. She told The Associated Press in a prison interview of a plot in which young women were raped and then persuaded to carry out suicide attacks to reclaim their honor.

Pilgrims will be celebrating Mondays end of 40 days of mourning that follow Ashoura, the anniversary of the seventh-century death of the Prophet Muhammads grandson Hussein.

He was killed in a battle near Karbala for the leadership of the nascent Muslim nation following Muhammads death in 632. His death led to the split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.


Suicide bomb kills at least 40 in Iraq (NBC Nightly News, Feb. 13, 2009) — A female suicide bomber blew herself up in a tent filled with women and children on a religious pilgrimage, killing at least 40 people in the deadliest attack in Iraq so far this year. NBC’s Brian Williams reports. (00:22)

Link to previous reports on the Mujahidaat (scroll down)


Security Developments in Iraq

Following are security incidents in Iraq on Feb. 13, 2009, as reported by Reuters.

MOSUL – Gunmen shot and wounded three Iraqi soldiers in an attack on their checkpoint in northern Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

ISKANDARIYA – A female suicide bomber killed 32 people and wounded 84 others when she blew herself up on a pilgrimage route during the major Shi’ite religious rite of Arbain, police said. The attack was in Iskandariya, 25 miles south of Baghdad.

BAGHDAD – Gunmen stormed the home of Thamir Yusuf, a defense ministry officer, and shot him and his son in the head in western Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – Iraqi police found the body of a girl with gunshot wounds to the head and chest in the east of Mosul, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen shot and wounded a candidate in last month’s provincial elections in central Mosul on Thursday, police said.


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4 Responses to “Female Suicide Strike in Iraq”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Massive Bomb Attack on Iraq Govt Says:

    […] Feb. 13, 2009 — Female suicide bomber targets Shiite pilgrims in Musayyib, Iraq, killing 40. […]

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    […] Female Suicide Strike in Iraq (Feb. 14, 2009) […]

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