Gunmen rampaged through the Sunni and Turkmen district of al-Wihda in the northwestern Iraqi town of Tal Afar overnight, killing about 50 residents, apparently in reprisal for bombings in a Shi’ite area. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ordered an inquiry into reports the gunmen included police from his security forces. A curfew has been imposed as Iraqi army troops take control of the city.
Gunmen raided al-Wihda after twin truck bombings March 26 that killed 55 and wounded 180. One suicide bomber lured victims to buy wheat loaded from his explosives-rigged truck in a Shi’ite district. A second truck bomb exploded in a used car lot in a mixed area.
In March 2006, after US forces pushed Sunni insurgents out of the town, Bush called Tal Afar a “free city that gives reason for hope in a free Iraq.” (Reuters, March 28)
See our last posts on Iraq and the sectarian warfare.