Iraq: jihadis wish Shi’ites happy Ramadan

From AP, Sept. 24 (emphasis added):

BAGHDAD – A crowd of Shias had gathered around a kerosene truck in Sadr City yesterday to stock up on fuel for Ramadan when a bomb went off, killing 38 people – mostly women and children – just days after the U.S. military had warned of increased sectarian bloodshed during the Islamic holy month.

In a familiar tit-for-tat scenario, the Sunni extremist group Jamaat Jund al-Sahaba claimed responsibility, avenging a Friday attack by a suspected Shia death squad on homes and mosques that killed four people in a Sunni Arab neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s armed forces said they struck a blow against groups affiliated with al-Qaida in Iraq with the arrest of a senior leader of Ansar al-Sunnah, a radical Sunni group responsible for attacks on U.S. forces, kidnappings and beheadings.

The leader, Muntasir Hamoud Ileiwi al-Jubouri, was captured Friday northeast of Baghdad, officials said. His group has claimed responsibility for numerous suicide attacks as well as the 2004 bombing that killed 22 people at a U.S. military mess hall in northern Mosul and the slaying that year of 12 Nepalese hostages.

For its part, al-Qaida in Iraq put a previously released video on the Internet to show who it said was its new leader killing a Turkish hostage two years ago. The statement identifying the masked killer as Abu Ayyub al-Masri was unconfirmed.

The Mujahedeen Shura Council – an umbrella organization of insurgent groups, including al-Qaida in Iraq, posted another Web video purporting to show the bodies of two American soldiers being dragged behind a truck, then set on fire in apparent retaliation for the alleged rape-slaying in Mahmoudiya of a teenage Iraqi girl by U.S. troops from the same unit. Another video in June purportedly showed the soldiers’ mutilated bodies. It was not clear whether the video posted yesterday was a continuation of that footage.

The soldiers were believed to be Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, and Pfc. Thomas Tucker, 25, who went missing after being attacked by insurgents on June 16 at a checkpoint south of Baghdad. Their bodies were found three days later.

In allied deaths yesterday, a U.S. soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in northern Baghdad, and two other American soldiers were killed when a bomb exploded near their patrol outside Hawija, 150 miles north of the capital, officials said.

So much joy to share this holiday season for Muslims and Jews alike.

See our last posts on Iraq and the sectarian cleansing.