Two days after launching aerial attacks on Shi’ite enclaves in Baghdad, the US is accused of air raids on police stations in the Kurdish autonomous zone. Jabar Yawer, spokesman for the Kurdish peshmerga militia, said a US helicopter attacked two Kurdish police outposts on Aug. 26, killing four police, wounding eight and destroying two vehicles. “We demand American troops to give an explanation for the US air strike against a police station,” the Kurdish Interior Ministry said in a statement. The US military said it was investigating the report.
Iraq’s embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meanwhile struck back at American critics, saying Senator Hillary Clinton and other Democrats who have called for his ouster should stop treating Iraq like “one of their villages.”
Al-Maliki also lambasted the US attacks on Baghdad’s Shi’ite enclaves. “Concerning American raids on Shula and Sadr City, there were big mistakes committed in these operations. The terrorist himself should be targeted not his family,” al-Maliki said “We will not allow the detaining of innocent people.”
Hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims are currently descending on Karbala for the Shabaniyah festival marking the birth of the “Hidden Imam” Mohammed al-Mahdi, the 12th and last Shiite imam who disappeared in the 9th century. The pilgrims have predictably come under attack. A woman making the 80-kilometer foot journey from Baghdad was shot to death by men in a passing car in the southwest of the capital. Six men were also wounded in the attack. (AP, Aug. 26)
Iraq’s Shi’ite sacred sites have repeatedly become targets of sectarian terror.