Hundreds of Iraqis were injured and 85 killed in a series of bomb attacks across the country May 10, marking the bloodiest day since the beginning of this year. The capital alone was hit by more than a dozen attacks, carried out by roadside bombs, rigged cars and automatic weapons fired from cars against police and security forces at checkpoints. In Basra 13 were killed and 64 injured in an attack apparently aimed against a police patrol. Nonetheless it turned out that almost all of the victims were civilians, mostly hit in crowded places.
The most atrocious violence occurred in Hilla, where two explosive-laden cars parked in front of a textile plant were blown up just as the employees were exiting the building. As neighbors and rescue workers rushed to the site, an apparent suicide bomber infiltrated into the crowd and blew himself up, maximizing the damage. The Hilla incident alone accounted for 40 of the dead and 140 injured.
Eighty people lost their lives and some 30 were injured in an assault carried out with a car and a roadside bomb in the market in Suweira, Wasit province, while in Tarmiya, north of Baghdad, a police officer was targeted by a car bomb that killed three and injured 16. In Mosul, an apparent suicide bomber killed two and in Fallujah four separate bombs blew up buildings housing security forces’ families; four people were killed, and 10 police officers were wounded by explosives planted outside their homes.
A spokesman of the Interior Ministry commented to Reuters: “This was a message to us that they can attack us in different parts…at the same time because they have cells everywhere.” He was referring to al-Qaeda‘s network. The attacks came just two days after the Iraqi Defense Ministry announced it was mulling the construction of a “security” barrier around the city of Baghdad, with access to and exit from the city controlled by eight checkpoints. (Arab Monitor, May 10)
Note that the prominent targets included the Shi’ite cities of Basra and Hilla, and Mosul, with its large Christian population. So we ask again: Is this an “insurgency” or a sectarian war?
See our last posts on Iraq and the politics of “separation walls”.
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Iraqi “resistance” scores another heroic blow against…
…football-playing Shi’ite youth.
A series of suicide bombings at a football stadium at Tal Afar, a mainly Shi’ite Turkmen town west of Mosul, killed 10 people and injured 120. An attacker detonated explosives hidden inside a vehicle at the entrance to the stadium; the blast was followed by at least one other as crowds gathered in the aftermath. Some said up to three suicide bombers were involved.
Earlier that day, the militant umbrella group Islamic State of Iraq issued an Internet statement warning of “dark days soaked with blood” for Iraq’s Shi’ites. “What is happening to you nowadays is just a drizzle,” said Al-Nasser Lideen Allah Abu Suleiman, the group’s new “minister of war.” He is believed to have taken over the position from Abu Ayub al-Masri. (BBC News, May 14)
OK, at least they’re targetting banks now…
From the New York Times, June 20: