Iraq: more sectarian attacks, protests

A suicide bombing on Feb. 16 killed Brig-Gen. Aouni Ali, the head of Iraq's main intelligence academy, and two guards in Tal Afar, near the northern city of Mosul, while in  Sulaiman Pak, just north of Baghdad, a judge was killed by a magnetic "sticky bomb" attached to his car. The judge, Ahmed al-Bayati, had previously received threats while working as an anti-terror investigator, and had to pay kidnappers a $150,000 ransom after his son was abducted last year. That same day, a roadside bomb killed an army lieutenant and wounded two other soldiers in Heet, northwest of the capital. Iraq has seen a rise in attacks in recent weeks, with January the deadliest month since September, according to a tally, although the level of violence is nowhere near that during the peak of the sectarian war in 2007.

The new attacks come one day after tens of thousands of Sunni Muslims marched in several Iraqi cities, demanding that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki step down. In the western cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, protesters blocked the main highway to Jordan and Syria to perform Friday noon prayers. Others gathered in the main squares of the northern cities of Samarra, Mosul and Kirkuk, and outside a prominent Sunni mosque in Baghdad. (Middle East Online, Feb. 16; Al Jazeera, Feb. 15)

  1. Iraq attacks on invasion anniversary
    A car bombs near Basra killed 10 people and wounded some 24 on March 17. The blast  happened near a bus station in Garmat Ali, just north of the city. Earlier, another bomb to the west of the city wounded two people. The bombings come days before the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, when Basra was occupied by UK forces

    On March 14, coordinated car bombs and suicide attacks on the Iraqi ministry of Justice in Baghdad killed up to 30 people and wounded 50. Thw Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility. (Xinhua, March 18; AP, BBC News, Reuters, March 17)

  2. More Iraq attacks on invasion anniversary
    Up to 60 people were killed in a series of car and suicide bombings mainly in Shi’ite areas in and around Baghdad on March 19. The co-ordinated attacks targeted markets, restaurants, bus stops and day labourers during the morning rush hour. Iraq’s deadliest day in six months came on the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. (BBC News, March 19)

  3. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    At least 19 were killed and more than 100 wounded as car bomb attacks targeted Shi’ite mosques during Friday prayers in Baghdad and Kirkuk March 29. Blasts hit mosques in the Baghdad districts of Zafaraniyah, Binook, Qahira and Jihad. The Kirkuk attack was reported at the same time. (BBC News, March 29)

  4. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    A bomb explosion killed at least seven people and wounded 25 in front of a Sunni Muslim mosque in Iraq’s Diyala province as worshippers were leaving after Friday prayers April 12. (Reuters)

  5. Coordinated attacks across Iraq
    A wave of bombings across Iraq have killed at least 33 and wounded more than 160 others, April 15—just days before the country’s first elections since US troops withdrew. A total of 14 car bombs and three roadside bombs struck seven cities including Baghdad, the northern disputed cities of Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu, the central city of Samarra, and the cities of Hilla and Nassriyah south of Baghdad.

    In Tuz, the three car bombs struck in and near the center of town. In Nasiriyah, one bomb detonated in a market and another other went off in an area filled with vehicle repair shops.

    The credibility of the April 20 vote has been called into question as 14 election hopefuls have been murdered and just 12 of the country’s 18 provinces will be taking part. (Al Jazeera, April 15)

  6. More terror in Baghdad
     The death toll from a suicide bombing inside a Baghdad cafe April 18 has risen to 32 dead and 65 wounded. The cafe was packed with young people enjoying water pipes and playing pool. Violence has been on the rise ahead of Iraqi provincial elections set for this weekend. (AP, April 19)

  7. Protests explode into gun battles across Iraq
    Gun battles erupted in cities with Sunni majorities across Iraq April 23 after security forces stormed a Sunni protest encampment in a village near Kirkuk. The clashes left dozens dead and wounded. The fiercest fighting was at the encampment in Hawija, where Sunni gunmen fought government forces throughout the day. At least 42 people were killed, 39 of them civilians, and more than 100 wounded.

    Fighting was also reported in Ramadi, Anbar governate, where protesters set fire to two military vehicles and tribal sheiks called on young men to take up arms. An influential Iraqi religious leader who lives in Amman, Jordan, Sheik Abdul Malik al-Saadi, seemed to endorse the call to arms, saying, “Self-defense has become a legitimate and legal duty.” (NYT, April 23)

  8. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    At least 25 were killed and dozens more wounded in five car bombings across Iraq April 29.
    Four of the blasts occurred in the Shi’ite heartland of the south. Two blasts went off near a busy outdoor market in Amara, killing 13 and wounding 24. Another bomb went off near an outdoor market in Diwaniya, killing six and wounding 20. And two people died and 11 others were wounded in a bombing at a commercial area in Karbala. Another blast occurred in Mahmoudiya, a predominantly Sunni area just south of Baghdad. Four were killed and 14 others were wounded in that attack. (CNN, April 29)

    The speaker of Iraq’s parliament, Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni and leading member of the Iraqiya bloc, demanded that the government resign over its handling of the protests and renewed sectarian strife. (Al Jazeera, April 29) The government meanwhile suspended the licences of 10 satellite TV channels mostly based in Sunni-dominanted countries, including Al Jazeera, for allegedly promoting violence and sectarianism. (Al Jazeera, April 28)

  9. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    Gunmen and other assailants killed at least 11 and wounded over two dozen in attacks in Iraq on May 26. The deadliest attack was in Kazimiyah district in northern Baghdad, where militants in a speeding car went on a shooting spree that killed three civilians and wounded another two. In Mosul, a car bomb went off at a house early in the morning while a joint army-police unit was conducting door-to-door searches. The blast killed three police and one soldier. Twenty people, including four civilians, were wounded. (AP, May 26)

  10. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    More than 70 people were killed in a wave of bombings in markets in Shi’ite neighborhoods across Baghdad on May 27. More than 700 people were killed in attacks in April, according to a UN count, the highest monthly toll in almost five years. So far in May more than 300 have died. (Reuters, May 27)

  11. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    A series of bombs in Iraq killed at least 30 people May 29 and wounded dozens. Car bombs killed four in Baghdad’s northeastern Shi’ite neighborhood of Binouq. In the city’s eastern Shi’ite neighborhood of Ur, a parked car bomb went off next to an army patrol, killing four and wounding 17, police said. A roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol in the largely Shi’ite central commercial district of Karradah, killing three. In Baghdad’s northern Shii’te neighborhood of Shaab, a car bomb exploded in a commercial area, killing six civilians and wounding 17 others. In the largely Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah in the capital’s north, a car bomb struck near a military convoy, killing three people, including two soldiers. Three were also killed in a bombing at a market selling spare car parts in central Baghdad. 

    In Anbar province, the provincial governor escaped an assassination attempt when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into his convoy. Four of his guards were wounded. Anbar is a lagre Sunni-dominated province west of Baghdad that has been the center for months of protests against the Shi’ite-led government. (AP, May 30)

  12. More sectarian terror in Iraq
    A suicide bomber detonated his payload a Shiiite mosque in northern Baghdad’s Kiraiyat neighborhood during Friday prayers on July 5, killing 15 worshippers and wounded 32. (AP)