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Aug 12th, 2009

Iraq Vehicle Bombs Target Shiites; Dozens Killed, Hundreds Wounded

Blasts also strike Baghdad neighborhoods as U.S. troops exit towns, cities

Image: Grieving in Mosul
Women share their grief following a bomb attack in Mosul, northern Iraq, on Monday, Aug. 10, 2009. (Photo credit: Nawras al-Ta’ei / EPA)

Aug. 10, 2009

BAGHDAD — A double truck bombing tore through the village of a small Shiite ethnic minority near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, while nine blasts wracked Baghdad Monday in a wave of violence that killed at least 48 people and wounded more than 250, Iraqi officials said. …

The deadliest blast on Monday was a double truck bombing in Khazna village, just east of Mosul, home of the Shabak, a small Shiite ethnic group in the north. …

The two explosives-laden trucks went off nearly simultaneously and less than 500 yards apart, killing at least 28 people and wounding 138, said police and hospital officials. …

Rescuers dig through the rubble

Witnesses described a chaotic scene of rescuers searching through the rubble of at least 15 houses that were destroyed. Many of the dead and wounded were sleeping on their roofs because of the summer heat.

The explosions left a 7-foot crater and reduced the neighborhood to piles of bricks, twisted metal and smoking debris. …

The village was a relatively easy target because it lacked many of the security measures prevalent in larger cities. A similar attack by a suicide truck bomber against a small Turkomen Shiite village on Friday flattened a mosque and killed 44.

Neighborhoods in capital struck

Bombs also went off in Baghdad despite the security gains there that have prompted the Iraqi government to order the removal of nearly all the blast walls in the city within 40 days.

The first bomb was hidden in a pile of trash that exploded about 5:50 a.m. near a group of day laborers drinking tea in the religiously mixed neighborhood of Amil, killing at least seven people and wounding 46, officials said.

About 10 minutes later a car bomb targeted construction workers elsewhere in western Baghdad, killed another 10 people and wounded 35, according to police.

Three bombs also exploded in the mainly Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah shortly before 7 a.m., wounding a member of a government-backed paramilitary group, an army official said.

Three other bombs later went off elsewhere in the city, wounding a total of 10 other people, police said. …


Related report

Bombs Kill 8 in Shiite Area in Baghdad

Image: Bomb-damaged bus
People inspect a damaged bus after a car bomb explosion in the Shaab neighborhood of Baghdad on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009. (Photo credit: Hadi Mizban / AP)

Aug 11, 2009

BAGHDAD — Several bombs exploded nearly simultaneously Tuesday in a mainly Shiite area in Baghdad, killing at least eight people and raising fears of a sustained insurgent campaign aimed at provoking new sectarian tensions.

The five-day death toll rose to 123 in the worst spasm of bombings the country has suffered since U.S. forces left the cities at the end of June, turning over urban security to Iraqi troops.

An explosives-laden car parked near a market entrance and two other nearby bombs detonated within minutes of each other at about 8:40 p.m. in the Amin al-Thaniyah neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, killing at least eight civilians and wounding 22, according to police and hospital officials. …

Another bomb exploded about 20 minutes later some 900 yards from the initial blasts, wounding five people, a police officer said. …

Attacks in the northern city of Mosul, which the U.S. military has called the last stronghold of al-Qaida, also killed at least 34 people Monday and 44 on Friday. It was the first time since the U.S. turned urban security over to the Iraqis on June 30 that insurgents have managed to stage two massive attacks in short order.

Dozens of deaths in recent days

Tuesday’s explosions had a lower death toll but heightened concerns about security measures in the capital because they came after 29 people were killed in a spate of bombings, also on Friday and Monday, in Baghdad. …

The bloodshed threatened to chip away at public confidence in the U.S.-backed government as it seeks to project a sense of normalcy ahead of next year’s national elections, including an announcement last week that all concrete blast walls will be gone from Baghdad’s main roads by mid-September. …


Scores of civilians killed in Iraqi violence (NBC Nightly News, Aug. 10, 2009) — A series of bombings in Iraq, including two early morning blasts in Baghdad, left at least 75 people dead. NBC’s Brian Williams reports. (00:25)


8/13/09 Update

Suicide Bombings in Iraq Kill More Than 20

Aug 13, 2009

BAGHDAD — A double suicide bombing devastated a cafe packed with young people in northwestern Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 21 people, officials said, in the latest attack against a minority community.

The blast capped a deadly week in which nearly 150 people have been killed in bombings concentrated near the volatile northern city of Mosul and Baghdad, heightening fears that Sunni insurgents are stepping up efforts to stoke ethnic and sectarian tensions.

Thursday’s attack occurred shortly after 5 p.m. in Sinjar, a city dominated by members of the Kurdish-speaking Yazidi religious group that is concentrated near the Syrian border.

It came two years after a village near Sinjar was hit by one of the worst insurgent attacks since the 2003 U.S. invasion. Four suicide truck bombers exploded nearly simultaneously in Qahataniya on Aug. 14, 2007, killing as many as 500 Yazidis.

Popular destination packed with people

The bombers detonated their explosives Thursday inside the Ayoub cafe as the popular sunset destination was packed with people drinking tea and playing dominoes. …

The attack killed 21 people, including an Egyptian resident, and wounded 32, said the director of Sinjar hospital, Dr. Kifah Mahmoud.

The top commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq, Army Maj. Gen. Robert Caslen, said Tuesday that recent attacks show the resilience of al-Qaida in Iraq and other Sunni insurgents despite numerous military operations against them.

Tensions are especially acute along the sensitive fault line of territory disputed by Kurds and Arabs where the Yazidis live. Kurdish checkpoints guard entrances to Sinjar, and the city’s mayor, Dakhil Qassim Hassoun, recently called for it to be incorporated into the nearby semiautonomous Kurdish territory.

Split a long-term threat

Several top U.S. defense officials have identified the split between Iraq’s majority Arabs and the Kurdish minority as probably a greater long-term threat to Iraq’s stability than the more familiar Sunni-Shiite conflict.

They have warned that conflict between the two groups over land and oil could explode into a new front in the Iraq conflict even as overall levels of violence decline — a dangerous prospect as U.S. forces prepare to withdraw by the end of 2011. Tensions also have been rising ahead of national elections scheduled for January. …

Caslen said the number of insurgent attacks has dropped in Mosul since the handover of control of the city to Iraqi forces on June 30. Weekly attacks averaged 42 before the handover. They now average 29, Caslen said. At the same time, high-profile attacks and attacks on Iraqi security forces are up, producing a higher number of casualties, he said. …

Bombings struck mainly Shiite communities on the fringes of Mosul last Friday and Monday, targeting a mosque used by Shiite Turkomen and a Shabak community.

Baghdad also has faced a spate of high-profile attacks.

A motorcycle bomb exploded late Thursday near a restaurant in a Shiite enclave in southern Baghdad, killing at least two civilians and wounding 10 others, police said.


Related report

Pentagon “very nervous” about Arab-Kurdish feud (Reuters, Aug. 11, 2009) — The Pentagon says it is “very nervous” about ethnic tensions in Iraq between Arabs and Kurds despite initial talks between their leaders, and a top U.S. commander warned the feud over land and oil could still turn violent. … Full story


Related report on this site

Paroxysm of Violence in Iraq (Aug. 7, 2009)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago Today — August 12, 2008

On the Campaign Trail: Day 29

With my sister and her daughter Inge, Paris, July 10, 2008.

One year ago today, on the 29th day of my campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination as House of Representatives candidate in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I took a one-day break from my 100-mile Sixth District Walking Tour to highlight an emerging threat in Iraq, the mujahidaat: female suicide bombers motivated by revenge for family members killed by U.S. and Iraqi forces.

10 Responses to “Sustained Iraqi Insurgency”
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    […] Aug. 7, 2009 — A suicide truck bomb targets a Shiite mosque in a northern suburb of Mosul, Iraq, flattening the mosque and killing at least 44 people. The attack also injures more than 200 people. Bombings against Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad kill seven. […]

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