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Al Qaeda Fighters Take Over Parts of Two Iraq Cities

Al Qaeda fighters in a commandeered police truck pass burning police vehicles in front of the main provincial government building in Fallujah, Iraq, on Jan. 1, 2014. (Photo credit: The Associated Press)

Photo Blog
January 2, 2014

Al Qaeda fighters brandished their weapons in the streets of two Iraqi cities and set police vehicles ablaze on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. A provincial spokesman said the militants had taken over police stations and military posts in Fallujah and Ramadi after security forces left. …

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Related: Al-Qaida-linked gunmen surge in two Iraq cities


1/15/2014 Update

Iraq Bomb Blasts Kill Dozens Amid Worst Violence in Five Years


Deadly Bomb Attacks in Iraq (NBC News, Jan. 15, 2014) — Bomb attacks killed about 50 people in Baghdad and a village in the north of the country. (01:10)

By F. Brinley Bruton

January 15, 2014

A slew of bomb attacks killed about 50 people in the Iraqi capital and a village in the north of the country on Wednesday, according to hospital and police sources cited by Reuters.

In the deadliest incident, a bomb blew up mourners at a funeral for a pro-government Sunni Muslim militiamen who died two days ago, police said. It killed 18 people and wounded 16 in Shatub, a village south of Baquba, Reuters reported.

Car bombs exploded across Baghdad, mostly in Shiite districts, killing 34 and wounding 71. …

Two years after U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq, violence has reached levels seen in 2006 and 2007, when tens of thousands of people died.

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1/20/2014 Update

Bomb Blasts Kill 26 People in Baghdad

By Ahmed Rasheed

January 20, 2014

BAGHDAD — Seven bomb explosions killed 26 people and wounded 67 in the Iraqi capital on Monday, police and medics said, as security forces battled Sunni Muslim militants around the western cities of Falluja and Ramadi.

The bloodiest attack occurred in mainly Shi’ite Muslim Abu Dsheer district in southern Baghdad, where a car bomb near a crowded market killed seven people and wounded 18. …

Al Qaeda militants and their local allies seized control of Falluja and parts of Ramadi on January 1, exploiting resentment among minority Sunnis against the government for policies perceived as unfairly penalizing their once-dominant community.

Five of Monday’s bombs targeted mainly Shi’ite districts of the capital, while two were in mostly Sunni areas. …

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1/25/2014 Update

Iraqis Fleeing Anbar Fighting At Rates Not Seen Since Civil War

Sunni Muslim families fleeing their homes in the city of Fallujah wait to enter the central Iraqi Shiite Muslim shrine city of Karbala. (Photo credit: Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP — Getty Images, file)

By F. Brinley Bruton

January 24, 2014

Iraqis are fleeing fighting in the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi at rates not seen since that country’s civil war six years ago.

In the past week alone, some 65,000 people have left the two cities in Anbar province, the site of fierce fighting between the Shiite-led government and al Qaeda-linked groups, U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said in a statement. …

More than 140,000 have been made homeless since the violence broke out at the end of last year, which is on top of the 1.1 million already displaced within Iraq, it added. …

Iraq has just been through its worst 12 months of violence in years, reaching levels not seen since it was emerging from its most turbulent post-invasion period between 2006 and 2008.

In recent weeks, fighters opposed to the government have taken control of parts of the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah. On Sunday, government forces launched an all-out offensive to push back the fighters in Ramadi, officials said.

On Monday, seven bombs hit the capital Baghdad, killing at least 26 people and wounding 67, officials told Reuters.

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2/21/2014 Update

Bomb Blasts in Iraq Kill 49, Injure 90

February 18, 2014

At least 49 people were killed as bombs rocked predominantly Shi’ite Muslim districts of the Iraqi capital and the southern city of Hilla on Tuesday, police and hospital sources said.

The deadliest violence hit Hilla a small city around 60 miles south of Baghdad, where seven car bombs killed 35 people inside the city itself and in the nearby towns of Haswa, Mahaweel and Mussayab.

“Hilla hospital has received 35 bodies so far from seven car bomb blasts,” said one health official. A further 90 people were wounded in the blasts. Fourteen more people were killed in explosions in mainly Shi’ite districts of Baghdad.

In one of those, a bomb inside a parked vehicle exploded near a bus station in the Bayaa district, killing five people, the sources said. There were also blasts in the Amil, Ilam and Shurta districts. …
Last year was Iraq’s bloodiest since sectarian bloodshed began to abate in 2008.

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3/6/2014 Update

Series of Car Bombs Hits Baghdad, Killing 17

Municipal workers clean the site of a bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq, on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (Photo credit: Ahmed Saad / Reuters)

By Sinan Salaheddin

March 5, 2014

BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of car bombs hit commercial areas and marketplaces in mainly Shiite areas of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people, officials said.

The bombings were the latest in a campaign by Sunni militants seeking to undermine the Shiite-led government’s efforts to maintain security across the country less than two months ahead of national elections.

Violence has surged in Iraq since last year, with the country weathering its deadliest bout of violence since it pulled back from the brink of civil war in 2008. U.N. figures showed that last year, the country saw the highest death toll in attacks, with 8,868 people killed.

On April 30, Iraq is to hold its first parliamentary elections since the U.S. troops’ withdrawal in late 2011.

Wednesday’s attacks were all carried out by explosives-rigged cars parked in streets of the capital’s mainly Shiite areas. Two of the bombings rocked outdoor markets in the northern neighborhoods of Shaab and Shula, killing four civilians in each attack, police said. At least 31 others were wounded in these blasts.

Three other civilians were killed and nine were wounded in a bombing in the southeastern district of Zafaraniyah, police officials said. In Baghdad’s southeastern Bayaa neighborhood, three civilians were killed and 11 wounded, while a bombing in the crowded commercial area of Karrada, killed two civilians and wounded 12. And in the eastern Sadr City neighborhood, one civilian was killed and three were wounded. …

Such bombings have increased, along with Sunni anger over perceived mistreatment and random arrests of Sunnis by the authorities.

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6/9/2014 Update

Bombs Kill 52 As Gunmen Storm University in Iraq

People gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad, June 8, 2014. REUTERS / Ahmed Saad
People gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad, June 8, 2014.
(Photo credit: Ahmed Saad / Reuters)

By Sameer N. Yacoub

June 8, 2014

BAGHDAD (AP) — A series of car bombs exploded across Iraq’s capital Saturday night, killing at least 52 people in a day of violence that saw militants storm a university in the country’s restive Anbar province and take dozens hostage, authorities said.

The attacks in Baghdad largely focused on Shiite neighborhoods, underscoring the sectarian violence now striking at Iraq years after a similar wave nearly tore the country apart following the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Now with U.S. troops gone, Iraq finds itself fighting on fronts across the country, as separate clashes in a northern city killed 21 police officers and 38 militants, officials said.

The first Baghdad attack took place Saturday night in the capital’s western Baiyaa district, killing nine people and wounding 22, police said. Later on, seven car bombs in different parts of Baghdad killed at least 41 people and wounded 62, police said. A roadside bomb in western Baghdad also killed two people and wounded six, police said. All the attacks happened in a one-hour period and largely targeted commercial streets in Shiite neighborhoods, authorities said. …

The day began with militants killing three police officers on guard at the gates of Anbar University, a police and a military official said. Islamic extremists and other anti-government militias have held parts of Anbar’s nearby provincial capital of Ramadi and the city of Fallujah since December amid rising tensions between Sunni Muslims and the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

The gunmen detained dozens of students inside a university dorm during their attack, the officials said. Sabah Karhout, the head of Anbar’s provincial council, told journalists that hundreds of students were inside the university compound when the attack started at the school. …

Meanwhile in the northern city of Mosul, clashes continued Saturday for a second day between security forces and Sunni militants trying to seize neighborhoods there. Police and morgue officials said that fighting since dawn Saturday killed 21 police officers and 38 militants.

Al-Qaida-linked fighters and their allies seized Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in late December after authorities dismantled a protest camp of Sunnis angry at what they consider their second-class treatment by the Shiite-led government. Fearful of setting off violence, security forces withdrew from the area, allowing militants to seize the cities. In April 2013, a similar dismantling of a Sunni protest camp in Hawija sparked violent clashes and set off the current upsurge in killing.

The government and its tribal allies are besieging the rebel-held areas, with fighting reported daily. Tens of thousands have fled the violence.

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6/11/2014 Update

Insurgents Seize Iraqi City of Mosul As Security Forces Flee

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, June 11, 2014. (Photo credit: Stringer / Reuters)

By Liz Sly and Ahmed Ramadan

June 10, 2014

BEIRUT — Insurgents seized control of most of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday in a powerful demonstration of the threat posed by a rapidly expanding extremist army to the fragile stability of Iraq and the wider region.

Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaeda offshoot, overran the western bank of the city overnight after U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers and police officers abandoned their posts, in some instances discarding their uniforms as they sought to escape the advance of the militants.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians also fled the surprise onslaught, which exposed the inadequacies of Iraq’s security forces, risked aggravating the country’s already fraught sectarian divide and enabled the extremists to capture large quantities of weaponry, much of it American.

The speed with which the security forces lost control of one of Iraq’s biggest cities was striking, and it was a major humiliation for the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The city of Fallujah was captured in January by ISIS and other insurgents, but Mosul is a bigger and more important prize, located at a strategically vital intersection on routes linking Iraq to Turkey and Syria. …

A rebranded version of the al-Qaeda in Iraq organization that the U.S. military said it had quelled before withdrawing its forces in 2011, ISIS has been expanding its reach for months in Iraq and in Syria in pursuit of its goal of creating an Islamic state. Al-Qaeda disowned the group this year, in part because al-Qaeda’s leadership considers its methods too harsh, but the two organizations share essentially the same goals and ideology. …

As reported by The New York Times

Insurgents seized military bases, police stations and provincial offices in Mosul on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. (Photo credit: Reuters via The New York Times)


Related reports on this site

Iraq violence on Monday, Aug. 15, 2011 (Graphic: Reuters)

Iraq Continues Post-Saddam Slide to Civil War — Part 1 (2012-2013)

Bomb Attacks Targeting Iraqi Police Continue in Baghdad (Oct. 12, 2011)

Coordinated Bombings in Baghdad Target Iraqi Police (Oct. 11, 2011)

Insurgents Target Iraqi Soldiers, Police in Spate of Attacks (Sept. 14, 2011)

Bloody Mayhem Across Iraq (Aug. 15, 2011)

Baghdad Area Bombings Continue (July 5, 2011)

Deadly Blasts Shatter Calm in Baghdad (June 23, 2011)

Spate of Bombings in Baghdad (April 18, 2011)

Iraq: Many Dead in Tikrit (March 29, 2011)

Iraq: Slaughter in Samarra (Feb. 12, 2011)

Iraq Violence Persists (Feb. 9, 2011)

Christians Fleeing New Iraq (Jan. 20, 2011)

Wholesale Slaughter in Iraq (Jan. 18, 2011)

Iraqi Security Forces Stumbling (May 8, 2009)

2 Responses to “Iraq Continues Post-Saddam Slide to Sectarian Civil War — Part 2”
  1. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Iraq Continues Post-Saddam Slide to Sectarian Civil War — Part 1 Says:

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