Iraq terror targets Shi’ite pilgrims —again

At least five people were killed and some 36 others injured July 16 as an explosion ripped through Baghdad’s Shi’ite district of Sadr City. The improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated at the entrance of a funeral tent that had been set up on the street. The attack came hours after authorities began imposing a strict curfew on Baghdad and set up check posts across the city in preparation for the Sunday martyrdom anniversary of the seventh Shi’ite Imam, Musa al-Kadhim. Another eight people sustained injuries in a bomb blast targeting visitors at Imam Musa’s mausoleum at Kadhimiya in northern Baghdad. (Press TV, Iran, July 16)

Shi’ite pilgrims were also targeted earlier this year during Arbaeen celebrations.

See our last posts on Iraq and the sectarian war.

  1. Insurgency or sectarian war?
    Which does it look like to you? From the LA Times, July 22:

    Bombs killed 19 people and wounded 80 across Iraq in a flurry of attacks Tuesday, three weeks after the U.S. military completed its withdrawal from the cities.

    At least six explosions struck both Shiite and Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad. The Baghdad attacks, including two in the Sadr City district, resulted in 14 deaths.

    Some Sadr City residents blamed splinter factions of Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia for the attacks…

    A double bombing in Sadr City struck as laborers gathered for work early in the morning, killing four, police said, and an explosion hours later in a small market in the district killed three people.

  2. Insurgency or sectarian war?
    Apparently Iranian pilgrims were among those killed on Wednesday. From the NY Times, July 22:

    BAGHDAD — Five Iranians were killed and 35 others wounded northeast of Baghdad on Wednesday when gunmen attacked a convoy of buses carrying pilgrims to holy Shiite sites in Iraq, officials said. It was the latest in a flurry of attacks that have killed or wounded scores in the last week alone.

  3. Insurgency or sectarian war?
    Which does it look like to you? From Radio Australia, July 31:

    29 killed in Iraq blasts
    A series of bomb blasts in Iraq have killed at least 29 people, most of them Shi’ite Muslim worshippers leaving Friday prayers.

    Iraqi officials say the attacks appear to have been co-ordinated.

    In the deadliest attack, a car bomb exploded near a Shi’ite mosque in northern Baghdad, killing 24 people and wounding 17.

    Around the same time separate explosions occurred near four other mosques in other parts of Baghdad – killing five people and wounding 28.

    Despite the deaths, July has been one of the least deadly months in Iraq since the war began six years ago.

    Gee, thanks for the good news.

  4. Insurgency or sectarian war?
    Which does it look like to you? From the Seattle Times, July 30:

    BAGHDAD — Seven people were killed and 10 others injured Thursday after two blasts ripped through the offices of a Sunni political party while leaders gathered for a meeting, Iraqi police said.

    The building housing the party, the National Movement for Reform and Development, has been the target of bombings twice this year, although the party is a relatively minor political force. In January, a car bomb detonated outside the building, in Baqouba, Diyala’s provincial capital. Seven people were wounded in that attack.

  5. Insurgency or sectarian war?
    You tell us. From AlJazeera, Aug. 7:

    Scores killed in Iraq attacks
    At least 38 people have been killed in an attack targeting Shia Muslims in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, police have said.

    The bomb on Friday hit a Shia mosque used by members of the Turkmen minority in a viillage just outside Mosul.

    A police said worshippers were walking to an annexe of the mosque during a condolence ceremony on Friday when the explosives, hidden in a car parked nearby, were detonated.

    About 90 people were injured in the blast and authorities urged citizens to donate blood to the hospitals.

    The attack came after at least five people were killed and eight injured when three roadside bombs exploded in Sadr City in northeastern Baghdad.

    Pilgrims targeted

    The blasts struck minibuses carrying Shia Muslims home from a pilgrimage in Iraq’s holy city of Karbala.

    Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims had flocked to Karbala a day earlier to mark the birth of Imam Mohammed al-Mehdi.

    Later on Friday, six people were killed and 30 injured after a car bomb struck a
    crowded market in the mixed Sunni-Shia Khadra neighbourhood in western Baghdad.

    No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

  6. Insurgency or sectarian war?
    Two explosions obliterated a large swath of Khazna village near Mosul Aug. 10, killing 34 people and wounding almost 200. The village is inhabited by Shi’ite Shabaks, a Kurdish-speaking minority. On Aug. 13, a suicide bombing in Sinjar killed 21 Yazidis. On Aug. 7, a truck bomb in Shirakhan, just north of Mosul, killed 37 Shi’ite Turkmen. (NYT, Aug. 16)

    See our last post on Iraq’ minorities.

  7. Insurgency or sectarian war?
    From the Washington Post, Aug. 20:

    BAGHDAD — The Iraqi government on Thursday announced the detention of 11 army and police commanders, accusing them of negligence in Wednesday’s massive bombings targeting government buildings in Baghdad.

    The explosions outside the Foreign and Finance ministries Wednesday morning killed nearly 100 people and wounded about 500.

    Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, apparently aware of the likely political fallout of the coordinated attacks, which are certain to paralyze work at the two key ministries for weeks, called an emergency security meeting late Wednesday…

    Maliki blamed Sunni extremists who had belonged to Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party for the attacks. The bombings took place a day after the prime minister asked his Syrian counterpart during a meeting in Damascus to hand over Baath Party members whom Baghdad suspects of orchestrating violence in Iraq.

    OK, this time they hit a government target. Media reports, however, do not say how many of the dead were actually government workers. The Dallas Morning News points out the blasts took place on the sixth anniversary of the bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad, “an attack regarded by many as the start of the insurgency that gripped Iraq until the U.S. added troops two years ago.” And appears to be dramatically back on, if we are to concede the use of the too-flattering word “insurgency.” A day later they are back to their usual trick of blowing up random civilians at markets. From AlJazeera, Aug. 21:

    At least seven people have been killed and 55 others wounded in a series of bombs and suspected mortar attacks in the southern Iraqi province of Babel, police said.

    Four people died and 14 others were wounded in a roadside explosion at a market near the city of Kerbala on Thursday, about 80km southwest of Baghdad, police said.

    Three people were killed and 41 others were wounded after suspected mortar rounds landed in a nearby shopping area, police added.

    So, we’re waiting. Insurgency or sectarian war? Which does it look like to you?

    1. Iraqi suicide bomber was Camp Bucca graduate
      The Telegraph revealed Aug. 31 that the suicide bombers who killed nearly 100 in the Aug. 19 Baghdad attacks had been “recently freed” from US detention at the notorious Camp Bucca. Some annoying wingnuts see this as evidence of some kind of Manchurian Candidate-type conspiracy. Assuredly, their counterparts on the right will argue that this is evidence of the need for indefinite detention. Kind of like a Rorschach test, eh? Both overlook the obvious. As we have asked before: Is it surprising that someone who did time at Camp Bucca should perhaps be a wee bit teed off at the USA (and its Iraqi client government)?

  8. Insurgency or sectarian war?
    Which does it look like to you? From the New York Times, Oct. 14:

    6 Are Killed by 3 Separate Explosions Near Shrines in a Holy City for Iraqi Shiites
    BAGHDAD — Three homemade bombs exploded without warning in the midst of crowds who had stopped to gather for evening prayers on Wednesday in southern Iraq’s Shiite holy city of Karbala, and the police and government officials said at least 6 people had been killed and 45 wounded.

    It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the explosions, which happened within minutes of one another at a shopping center, near a police checkpoint and inside a parking garage. All were near the Husseni and Abbas shrines in Karbala, about 50 miles south of Baghdad.

    The blasts struck areas crowded with people, but outside the security cordon that surrounds the shrines, said Amal al-Dheen al-Hir, governor of Karbala Province…

    This week, a draft report by Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry said that from 2004 to 2008 — the period of the bloodiest sectarian strife — 85,694 people had been killed and 147,000 wounded.

    The ministry’s calculation of fatalities was based on the issuance of death certificates. The report is the first Iraqi government study on the subject.

    See our last post on the body count.

  9. Insurgency or sectarian war?
    Which does it look like to you? From the New York Times, Oct. 16:

    Attacker Kills 15 in Iraqi Mosque
    BAGHDAD — A man stood up during Friday Prayer in a violence-plagued town in northern Iraq and shot the prayer leader at point-blank range with an assault rifle before spraying the kneeling worshipers around him and detonating a suicide belt, killing 15 people, witnesses said.

    The attack also wounded 100 others inside the Taqwa mosque in Tal Afar, a town in the northern province of Nineveh that is among several areas contested by various ethnic and religious groups in Iraq’s north.

    The town, which is about 40 miles from Iraq’s border with Syria, is made up primarily of Shiite Turkmens. It has been the scene of dozens of attacks since the outbreak of sectarian violence in Iraq in 2006, and violence has continued there even as it has ebbed in much of the rest of Iraq. In one of the deadliest attacks since the American invasion, a truck bomb exploded in a market there in March 2007, killing 152 people and wounding 347.

    See our last post on the Turkmen.

  10. Insurgency or sectarian war?
    For the second time since Aug. 19, the “insurgents” target government buildings in Baghdad (even if the casualties are overwhelmingly civilian). In the same period, we noted (just from mainstream press accounts) at least seven attack on sectarian enemies, albeit with a less spectacular death toll than in this latest incident. From Bloomberg, Oct. 26:

    Baghdad Suicide Car Bombs Kill More Than 150, Wound Hundreds
    Twin suicide car bombs targeting government buildings in central Baghdad killed more than 150 people and wounded hundreds in one of the deadliest attacks in recent years, the state-run Iraqi news agency said.

    The explosions went off at 10:30 a.m. local time yesterday outside the headquarters of the Baghdad provincial administration and the Ministry of Justice, about 500 meters apart, the Iraqi National Agency said, citing unidentified officials.

    1. Iraqi “resistance” scores another heroic blow against…
      …Iraqi children. From AP, Oct. 26:

      A busload of children leaving a day care center next to the Justice Ministry was caught in the first blast and 24 children and the bus driver were killed, hospital and police officials said. Six children were wounded, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

  11. Insurgency or sectarian war?
    The New York Times reports several bombings across Iraq Nov. 1, leaving 12 dead—including five (with 37 wounded) at a popular kebab restaurant in the southern Shi’ite city of Hilla, and three (with 12 wounded) when a magnetic bomb attached to a minibus filled with passengers exploded at a checkpoint in Karbala. The following statistics were provided, which shed light on just how far standards for “success” have been dumbed down:

    In October, 453 Iraqi civilians and security personnel were killed, an increase from a monthly low this year of 379 in September but considerably below the high of 677 in April, according to the Interior Ministry. The statistics do not count deaths in the northern Kurdish region.

  12. Insurgency or sectarian war?
    A barrage of bombings killed nine people in two of Iraq’s largest cities Dec. 15. In Baghdad, three parked cars packed with mines and other bombs exploded within minutes of each other around 7:30 AM just outside different entrances to the Green Zone, just as Iraqis were coming to the area for work. Five people were killed and at least 16 wounded. Four hours later and 225 miles away, in the northwestern Iraqi city of Mosul, two more car bombs and a roadside mine killed four people and wounded 40. The attacks appeared to target a busy neighborhood and a church. (AP, Dec. 15)

    OK, the Baghdad blasts at least targeted the seat of government (even if they killed civilian workers). But the Mosul blasts seem just more random terror aimed at civilians and (if the claims about a church are accurate) especially Christians.

    The “Islamic State in Iraq” has meanwhile claimed responsibility for the Dec. 8 coordinated attacks that killed up to 127 and wounded more than 448 in Baghdad. The statement said the attacks targeted “bastions of evil and dens of apostates,” confirming that the group is determined to uproot the Iraqi government and that the “list of its targets has no end.” The group also claimed responsibility for the massive attacks of Aug. 19 and Oct. 25. (Xinhua, Dec. 10)