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Oct 17th, 2009

Afghan Villagers: “Death to America!”

Afghan Bomb Attacks Kill U.S. Troops, Civilians

October 17, 2009

KABUL — Bomb attacks killed three American troops in Afghanistan, while civilian casualties sparked a protest by a group of angry villagers who shouted “Death to America!”

Two American troops were killed in an explosion in the troubled nation’s east on Friday, officials from the NATO-led coalition said. Another U.S. service member died the same day in a bombing in the south. …

The deaths bring to 28 the number of American service members killed in Afghanistan this month, according to an Associated Press count.

Civilian causalities

The NATO-led force said a woman and a school-aged girl died during an operation by foreign and Afghan forces against suspected militants in the southeastern Ghazni province.

Civilian deaths, especially during operations by foreign forces, have infuriated Afghans and increased hostility toward the presence of international troops nearly eight years after the Taliban’s fall in Afghanistan.

Reuters television images from the scene showed two bodies including that of a child lying on the floor of a house as a group of Afghans huddled together and cried over the bodies.

A group of 100 angry Afghans could be seen later in the day marching through a nearby village shouting “Death to America” and “Death to (President) Hamid Karzai.”

Residents said house searches by troops looking for Taliban fighters have antagonized the local population. …

More than 1,500 civilians have been killed by violence in Afghanistan so far this year, according to the United Nations.

Protecting Afghans

It said in a report last month that 68 percent of the civilian killings were a result of militant attacks, while 23 percent were caused by Afghan and foreign troops led by NATO and the U.S. military.

U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, who took command of foreign forces in Afghanistan in June, has made protecting Afghan civilians the focal point of his strategy. …

Full story


Truck Bomb Destroys Key Bridge in Western Iraq

Highway, used by U.S. military and civilian traffic, links to Syria and Jordan

October 17, 2009

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber driving a dynamite-laden truck destroyed a key bridge Saturday on a highway used by the departing U.S. military, while seven Iraqis — most of them soldiers — were killed in separate attacks, police said. …

Also Saturday, an attack on an Iraqi army convoy just outside of the city of Fallujah killed four Iraqi soldiers and wounded 14, said a police officer in the city, which is about 40 miles west of Baghdad. …

Intensifying violence

Elsewhere in Iraq, violence has intensified. The northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk have recently been hit by horrific attacks targeting ethnic minorities and Iraqi security forces.

On Saturday, attackers targeted an Iraqi army patrol near Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, killing two civilians, a police official in the oil-rich city said. Two civilians were injured in the hand grenade attack, which left the soldiers unharmed, he said.

In Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, a gunman killed a policeman and three bystanders Saturday, police said.

In a brazen attack Friday, a suicide bomber, hiding with a rifle and explosives among the Sunni congregation in a mosque, sprayed gunfire at Muslim worshippers and then blew himself up, killing at least 15 people, including the imam leading prayers in the town of Tal Afar, near Mosul.

Full story


Blasts Kill At Least 3 in Iraq’s Kerbala

Residents gather around the site of a bomb attack in Kerbala, 50 miles southwest of Baghdad, October 14, 2009. Three explosions killed at least three people and wounded 20 in the Shi’ite holy city of Kerbala, police and health officials said. (Photo credit: Mushtaq Muhammed /Reuters)

October 14, 2009

BAGHDAD — Three explosions killed at least three people and wounded 40 in Iraq’s Kerbala on Wednesday, security and health officials said, in a rare attack in one of the holiest cities for Shi’ite Muslims. …

A police source said three people were killed and 40 injured in the attacks in Kerbala, 50 miles southwest of the Iraqi capital. But other sources put the death toll as high as 12 or as low as one. …

During the dark days of sectarian killings that peaked in 2006-2007, hundreds were blown up, shot or beheaded daily in tit-for-tat killings between Sunnis and Shi’ites.

Full story


Police: Suicide Bomber Kills 15 at Iraq Mosque

Reuters and The Associated Press via
October 16, 2009

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber killed at least 15 people and wounded about 69 on Friday in a Sunni Muslim mosque in northern Iraq whose imam had criticized al-Qaida, security officials said.

Suicide attacks are the hallmark of Sunni Islamist groups and it is rare for them to target Sunni rather than Shiite places of worship. The Tal Afar mosque was probably attacked by al-Qaida because its imam, Abdul-Satar Hassan, had spoken out against the group, the official said. …

Sahir Jalal, 37, who was at the mosque for prayers, said the imam had just begun delivering a sermon when a tall man stood up.

“Then he took out a small rifle from under his jacket and started to shoot,” he said.

Seconds later, the man shouted “God is Great” and detonated explosives strapped to his body, Jalal said. …

Attacks on clerics

Last week, a Sunni cleric driving home after delivering a sermon in Saqlawiyah, 45 miles northwest of Baghdad, was killed by a bomb attached to his car. Earlier this week, the cleric who leads the biggest Sunni mosque in Baghdad was wounded in a similar bombing.

A Sunni cleric in Mosul was killed in September, also by a bomb attached to his car. …

On Aug. 7, a suicide truck bomb flattened a mosque in a northern Mosul suburb, killing at least 44 people and wounding more than 200. On July 9, two suicide bombers wearing explosives belts killed at least 38 people and injured 66 near a judge’s house in Tal Afar. …

Alleged insurgent ringleader detained

Also Friday, an aide to Iraq’s prime minister said a Sunni lawmaker accused of being an insurgent ringleader has been detained in Malaysia.

Mohammed al-Dayni slipped through Iraqi custody several months ago, but was detained in Kuala Lumpur, Yassin Majeed said.

Earlier this year, al-Dayni was charged with ordering a wave of attacks that included a 2007 suicide blast in the parliament cafeteria and mortar strikes on Baghdad’s Green Zone. …

Full story


10/19/09 Update

Baghdad Bombs Kill 4 in Restaurant, Bus

Baghdad attacks (MSNBC, Oct. 19, 2009) — A string of deadly bombings rock Baghdad.’s Dara Brown reports. (00:42)

October 19, 2009

BAGHDAD — Bombs targeting a take-out restaurant and a commuter bus in the Iraqi capital killed at least four people Monday, highlighting the continuing challenge to Iraqi forces of maintaining security in the country. …

A bomb explosion at the Shatt al-Arab kebab shop in southwestern Baghdad killed at least two people, said police. The blast in the mixed predominantly Shiite district of Bayaa also wounded four people.

A few hours later, a bomb attached to a minibus exploded during afternoon rush hour in the city’s northern Shaab district, killing two people and wounding nine others, said police. The minibus was carrying commuters from the capital’s central bus station.

A day earlier, a bomb attached to a motorcycle exploded near a popular cafe in a largely Sunni district of Baghdad, killing five people, authorities said. …

Elsewhere Monday, gunmen killed a senior police official in Mosul, another police official said. …

Full story


10/20/09 Update

Police Targeted in Iraq Bombings

Country locked in political dispute

October 20, 2009

BAGHDAD — Car bombs and planted explosives killed six people, mostly police, on Tuesday in different areas of Iraq as a low level insurgency continues to target the country’s struggling security forces.

A car packed with explosives blew up at a gas station in the town of Saqlawiyah, 45 miles west of Baghdad, killing three policemen and one civilian, a local police officer said. He said five policemen and one civilian were wounded in the same blast.

In northern Baghdad, one civilian was killed and four were wounded when a bomb attached to a minibus exploded in Kazimiyah, a primarily Shiite suburb of the capital, said a police officer in the Iraqi capital.

Minutes later, a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol in western Baghdad wounded three civilians, a local policeman said.

In Hilla, just south of Baghdad, a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed one policeman and wounded two others, according to a local police spokesman.

In the far northern city of Mosul a roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army patrol, wounding two soldiers and one civilian, said a police officer there. …

Control of oil region at issue

As the violence continues around the country, Iraqi lawmakers remain in a bitter dispute over the new election law that would set out the legal structure for a critical nationwide vote in January.

The most contested issue is Kirkuk and the division of control over the northern city’s vast oil resources between the Kurdish, Arab and Turkomen clans.

The lawmakers have also failed to agree on new voting guidelines that would require ballots to list individual candidates rather than just their party blocs. …

U.S. soldier killed

In Iraq, the U.S. military said on Tuesday an American soldier was killed and two others were wounded when a roadside bomb detonated near their vehicle in the Ninevah province. The military said the soldier was killed on Monday.

The soldier’s name was being withheld pending notification of next of kin, a military statement said, adding that the incident is under investigation.

The death raises to at least 4,351 the number of U.S. military personnel who have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003. That’s according to an Associated Press count.

Full story


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — October 17, 2008

After the Primary Election: Day 38

One year ago today, on the 38th day after losing my 2008 primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I reported on Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s criticism of U.S. commander Gen. Ray Odierno and street protests against the U.S.-Iraq status-of-forces agreement by supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Image: Protesters with Muqtada al-Sadr poster
Two protesters place a poster featuring Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on a huge Iraqi flag during a Baghdad rally against a draft U.S.-Iraq security agreement on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008. (Photo: Hadi Mizban / AP)

2 Responses to “Iraq, Afghanistan Violence”
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