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Feb 1st, 2010

Suicide Bomber Kills 54 During Iraq Pilgrimage

Attacker hid explosives underneath black head-to-toe cloak


Female suicide bomber strikes pilgrims in Iraq (MSNBC, Feb. 1, 2010) — More than 50 people are dead and another 100 are wounded after a female suicide bomber detonates among a group of Shiite pilgrims in Iraq.’s Dara Brown reports. (00:44)

February 1, 2010

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber walking among Shiite pilgrims in northern Baghdad detonated an explosives belt on Monday, killing at least 54 people and wounding around 117, Iraqi officials said.

A police official said 18 women and 12 children were among the dead. A hospital official also confirmed the casualties. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media. …

The bombing raises fears of an escalation of attacks as hundreds of thousands of Shiites head by Friday to the southern holy city of Karbala. They will mark the end of 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the death Imam Hussein, a revered Shiite figure.

The bomber hid the explosives underneath an abaya — a black cloak worn from head to toe by women — as she joined a group of pilgrims on the outskirts of Baghdad’s Shiite-dominated neighborhood of Shaab, said Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, Baghdad’s top military spokesman.

The bomber set off the blast as she lined up with other women to be searched by female security guards at a security checkpoint just inside a rest tent, al-Moussawi said. …


2/18/2010 Update

Iraqi Official: 9 Killed in Ramadi Explosion

February 18, 2010

Nine people were killed and 15 injured in an explosion outside government offices in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi on Thursday, an Iraqi hospital official said.

A government official from the Anbar province, where the blast took place, blamed the attack on a suicide bomber.

The explosion happened at the gate of a compound that includes the provincial governor’s office, police headquarters and courts. …

Anbar’s governor was badly wounded in an assassination attempt in late December.


2/21/2010 Update

Eight Hurt in Baghdad Green Zone Attack

February 21, 2010

BAGHDAD — Two mortar bombs landed in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone government and diplomatic area on Monday, wounding five people, Iraqi police said.

One loud blast woke many residents in the Iraqi capital at dawn.

Police said the mortar bombs damaged several cars in the Green Zone, which used to be under the control of the U.S. military but was handed over to Iraqi security forces last year. …

Suicide bombings of government buildings and hotels in Baghdad in August, October, December and January killed hundreds of people, undermining confidence in Iraqi security forces ahead of March 7 parliamentary elections. …


2/22/2010 Update

Shiite Family of 8 Killed in Iraq, Some Beheaded

February 22, 2010

BAGHDAD — Eight members of one Shiite family were killed south of Baghdad on Monday in the worst incident of a bloody day across Iraq that left at least 23 dead. The spate of attacks — and the fact that some of the family were beheaded — raised fears that insurgents are trying to re-ignite sectarian warfare at a time when the country is preparing for critical March elections.

The March 7 election will determine who will oversee the country as the U.S. forces go home, and whether Iraq will be able to overcome the deep sectarian divides that almost destroyed it during the height of the fighting in past years.

A “terrorist group” using guns fixed with silencers shot and beheaded eight members of a single family in the village of Wahda, a mixed Shiite-Sunni village 20 miles south of the capital, the Baghdad security command said in a statement. …

Associated Press television video of the attack showed a blood-soaked mattress and carpet, and stuffed animals strewn across the floor.

AP video from the nearby police station showed four people who authorities said were responsible, but no further details were given. The police statement did not indicate who might have carried out the attack.

“The crime of killing my brother, his wife and six children, five girls and one boy, is an ugly and ruthless crime,” said Mahdi Majid Maryoush al-Qabi, a brother to the killed father of six. “I call upon the Iraqi government and the prime minister to execute the accused immediately at the crime scene so that they will set an example for others. They are devoid of any human values.”

A Baghdad police officer and witnesses said the family belonged to Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority. The police officer said the family had been displaced from their home during the sectarian fighting in 2006 and had just returned in 2009.

During the fighting of 2006 and 2007, hundreds of thousands of families fled their homes across Iraq due to death threats, killings and kidnappings, as neighborhoods and towns that were once mixed with Sunnis and Shiites were almost emptied of one sect or the other. …

U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Stephen Lanza said U.S. officials had been worried about a rise in violence ahead of the election, but said it was too soon to tell whether the death of the family of eight, as well as an early morning mortar attack against the Green Zone in Baghdad, were specifically tied to the vote. …

Six people were hurt after three mortar rounds struck the Green Zone, the neighborhood housing the main Iraqi government compound and the U.S. Embassy, early Monday morning.

In other violence, five people died after a booby-trapped car blew up in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, 70 miles west of Baghdad, two police officials said.

In Baghdad, gunmen broke into the home of a family, killing all four, police said. However, authorities said the motive might have been robbery, noting that the gunmen took the family’s car.

Elsewhere in the capital, a sniper killed a policeman while gunmen killed a street cleaner, authorities said.

In two separate incidents in northern Iraq, gunmen killed a policeman in Kirkuk and two soldiers in the northern city of Mosul, authorities said. In the central city of Tikrit, a sticky bomb attached to a car killed the driver, said a police official. …


3/3/2010 Update

String of Bombings Kills Dozens in Iraq

Image: Site of a suicide bombing in Iraq
Iraqi police commandos inspect destruction at the site of a suicide bombing in the restive city of Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad, on Wednesday, March 3, 2010. (Photo credit: AFP — Getty Images)

The Associated Press and Reuters via
March 3, 2010

BAGHDAD — A string of three deadly suicide bombings killed at least 30 people in the former insurgent stronghold of Baqouba on Wednesday, including a blast from a suicide bomber who rode in an ambulance with the wounded before blowing himself up at a hospital, police said.

The bombings — Iraq’s deadliest in weeks — come as Iraq is preparing for March 7 elections that will decide who will oversee the country as U.S. forces go home and help determine whether Iraq can overcome the deep sectarian tensions that have divided the nation since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. …

Police spokesman Capt. Ghalib al-Karkhi in the capital of the volatile Diyala province said the blasts struck in quick succession in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, and also wounded 48 people. …

Army, government, hospital targeted

J. Magno / AP
Map locates Baqouba, Iraq, where a string of deadly blasts exploded.

First, a suicide car bomb targeted a local government housing office next to an Iraqi Army facility. Within minutes, another suicide bomber driving a vehicle struck the headquarters of the provincial council, al-Karkhi said.

A third suicide bomber, wearing an explosives vest, rode in an ambulance with the wounded to the city’s emergency hospital as rescuers and victims from the first two blasts were being rushed in for treatment, he added.

Most of the victims came from the blast at the hospital, al-Karkhi said. Police later safely detonated a fourth car bomb about 220 yards from the hospital. …

Baqouba is a mixed Shiite-Sunni city and Diyala’s provincial capital. Both the city and the province were flashpoints of the insurgency, although they have quieted since the height of attacks in 2006 and 2007.


Bombings leave at least 30 dead outside Baghdad (NBC Nightly News, March 3, 2011) — Two car bombings exploded near government buildings northeast of Baghdad Wednesday, and a third suicide bomber struck a nearby hospital after the injured from the first incident were brought there. (00:23)


Related reports on this site

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

Iraq: Female Bomber Strikes Again (Jan. 4, 2009)

Three Baghdad blasts kill at least 20 (Nov. 24, 2008)

Three Female Suicide Bombers Kill 32, Wound 100 (July 28, 2008)

Iraqi Mujahidaat Becoming Norm (Aug. 12, 2008)

Woman Suicide Bomber Kills 26 in Iraq (Aug. 14, 2008)

Iraq — An Emerging Threat (Aug. 12, 2008)

Farhana Ali and Jerrold Post, ISPP meeting, Sciences Po, Paris, July 12, 2008.
Farhana Ali (RAND Corporation) and Jerrold M. Post, M.D. (George Washington University) at a counterterrorism panel at the International Society of Political Psychology meeting in Paris, July 12, 2008. (Photo: Aubrey Immelman)

One of the emerging threats in Iraq is the mujahidaat — female suicide bombers motivated by revenge for family members killed by U.S. and Iraqi forces. As a result of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, the 1991 Gulf War, and the 2003 U.S. invasion and subsequent sectarian war, Iraq today has an estimated one million widows — not counting the thousands of women who have lost sons, brothers, fathers, and other family members in the current conflict. Some of the most lethal suicide attacks in Iraq this summer have been carried out by female bombers.

Here’s an excerpt from an article terrorism expert Farhana Ali wrote for the July 30, 2008 issue of Newsweek:

Dressed to Kill

Why the number of female suicide bombers is rising in Iraq

Muslim female suicide bombers are on the rise. Even before women attackers claimed dozens of lives in Monday’s coordinated attacks on Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad and political protesters in Kirkuk, women had carried out more than 20 missions in Iraq this year — the most violent one yet for the women of Al Qaeda. But for those of us who have studied the phenomenon, the assaults should not come as a surprise. … If conditions of Iraqi women fail to improve in the coming months … the bomber behind the veil will be nearly impossible to defeat. … Full story


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — February 1, 2009

Afghanistan Civilian Deaths
An Afghan villager elder holds his walking stick as he talks with U.S. soldiers who have come to pay money for repairing homes destroyed during the recent U.S. raids in Inzeri village in the Tagab Valley of Kapisa province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009. (Photo credit: Jason Straziuso / AP)

Afghan Villagers Protest Raids

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that three recent U.S. Special Forces operations in Afghanistan killed 50 people — the vast majority civilians, according to Afghan officials — raising the ire of villagers and President Hamid Karzai. The problem, Afghan officials say, comes when ordinary villagers hear the commotion of Special Forces nighttime raids and, fearing robbers or an attack from a hostile tribe, grab their guns and run outside or fire from their homes. U.S. forces then fire back and end up killing civilians.

12 Responses to “Iraq Mass Casualty Bombing”
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