Friday, April 24, 2009

Iraq pacification crumbles as Suicide bombings kill over 120 in two days

The myth of Iraq pacification has crumbled. As the US has withdrawn forces from Iraq, it seems the suicide bombings have begun again in earnest. Following twin bombings that killed at least 69 on Thursday, a second set of twin bombings have killed at least 60 on Friday. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, Taleban insist they want to take over that country, which possesses nuclear weapons, and found an Islamist caliphate: :

At the nearby Taliban headquarters in Imam Dehri, the Taliban spokesman, Muslim Khan, told the Guardian that their goal was the establishment of an Islamic caliphate – first in Pakistan, then across the Muslim world.

"Democracy is a system for European countries. It is not for Muslims," he said. "This is not just about justice. It should be in education, health, economics. Everything should be under sharia.".

It is not necessary to comment on any of this. Bombs speak louder than words.
Published: April 24, 2009
BAGHDAD — Twin suicide bombers struck outside the gates of the holiest Shiite site in Baghdad on Friday, killing at least 60 people and wounding scores more, according to preliminary reports from police officials.
The blasts came a day after the single deadliest day in Iraq in more than a year, and punctuated a deadly outburst of violence in recent weeks.
Friday's bombings occurred near the shrine of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, one of the twelve imams of Shiite Islam, in the Kadhimiya neighborhood of Baghdad. Like the previous bombings, the attacks appeared to target Shiites in particular.
An interior ministry official said that most of those killed appeared to be Iranians making pilgrimages to the shrine. Two suicide bombers blew themselves as they mingled with crowds gathered in front of checkpoints at the main entrance to the shrine, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to speak publicly. In addition to those killed, at least 125 others were wounded.
The streets around the shrine have already been hit by two other suicide bombings this year.
On Thursday three suicide bombings — one in Baghdad and two in Diyala, the restive province northeast of the capital — killed more than 80 people. In barely 24 hours, five bombings have killed at least 120 people and wounded 230.
Thursday's deadliest bombing destroyed a restaurant in the city of Muqdadiya, killing at least 47 people, most of them Iranians travelling in buses. On Friday, a morgue official said the toll had risen to 56 killed, Agence France-Presse reported from Diyala's capital, Baquba.
While violence overall remains far below the worst years of the war here, a string of attacks so far this month has raised concern that insurgents, terrorists and other fighters have regrouped themselves with the intention of inflaming sectarian tensions and weakening Iraq's government and security forces as the Americans reduce their military presence on the ground in advance of a full withdrawal at the end of 2011.
"The government was treating the situation like they'd won a victory," said Sheik Jalal al-Din Saghir, a member of Parliament from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, a Shiite political party. "They relaxed. We can't ignore that there were security successes, but that doesn't mean the story is finished."
The government may have scored at least one important security victory on Thursday, announcing the capture of a major leader of the Sunni insurgency, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. But reports of his arrest, and even his supposed death, have been announced before, and some American military officials even question whether such a man exists.
Iraqi leaders say Mr. Baghdadi is the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group of Sunni militant forces that includes Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the homegrown group that American intelligence officials say is led by foreigners.
The Iraqi military provided no further details about the arrest, and the United States military has not confirmed it.
On Thursday, Hussein al-Shami, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, defended the government's security gains.
"The security situation is still good, but there are some sleeper cells that are targeting the softer areas," he said. "They just want to send a message to the government and the world that they are still here."
The woman who blew herself up in Baghdad's central Karada district on Thursday resembled most of the other women crowded outside a food distribution site that was catering mainly to those displaced by the war.
She wore a black abaya and, like many of the other women, was walking with a child, in her case a young girl, according to Iraqi Army and police officials who interviewed survivors at the scene.
The woman stood out, the witnesses said, only because she began nudging her way through the crowd, which had been waiting patiently for the bags of flour, bottles of cooking oil and other staples that the police were handing out. The witnesses said she tugged the child, who looked about 5 years old, along with her.
Once she reached the center of the crowd, she set off the blast, with explosives that the police believe she hid under her flowing clothes.
Afterward, a tattered black abaya stuck to a wall on the first-floor balcony of an adjacent apartment building, singed by the explosion. The sidewalk was littered with bags of macaroni and loose leaf tea that had been part of the giveaway. Flies swarmed on bits of human flesh.
One woman sat on the ground, wailing as she beat the sidewalk with the palms of her hands. She said she had lost her husband, her son, her sister and six grandchildren.
An Interior Ministry official said 28 people had died in the explosion, including 12 police officers. Fifty others were wounded.
It was not immediately clear how many of the victims were children.
At nearby Ibn al-Nafis Hospital, women who were visiting the injured moaned loudly. The patients lay on stretchers, some with burns over much of their bodies.
"I was close to the area, wondering why there was a crowd,'" said Adnan Ibrahim, 25, who had a bandage over his left eye. "After that, I don't know what happened. It felt like there was something very heavy on my face. I discovered that I lost my eye."
Ali, a man in his 30s who had been selling fruit from a small cart with his brother Haider, said his brother had noticed the crowd of women and children gathering nearby and gone to find out what was happening. Ali had stayed with the cart.
Moments later, Haider was dead, and Ali, who gave only his first name, was wounded by shrapnel.
At the hospital, Ali sobbed and struck his head against the metal door of a large refrigerator where bodies had been placed.
"It's like I lost my ribs," he said.
In the second attack Thursday, in the city of Muqdadiya in Diyala Province, a suicide bomber set off his explosives in a popular restaurant where several busloads of Iranian tourists had stopped to get snacks, to pray and to use the restrooms, the Iraqi police said.
The restaurant, Khanaqin, is in a neighborhood known as being particularly violent and in a province where Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia remains active. The restaurant has been placed off limits to tourist groups traveling from Iran to some of Iraq's Shiite holy places, but bus drivers sometimes stop there anyway, the police said.
At least 47 people were killed and 70 injured in the blast, which brought down the restaurant's roof, the police said. Almost all of the victims were Iranians.
Five other people were killed Thursday in Diyala Province when a man detonated his suicide vest as a car carrying a local Awakening Council leader passed, officials said. The leader was killed, as were four bystanders.
The Awakening Councils, groups throughout Iraq that were paid to leave the insurgency and fight on the government's side, have been singled out in recent attacks.
Reporting was contributed by Suadad N. al-Salhy, Muhammed al-Obaidi, Mohamed Hussein, Atheer Kakan and Steven Lee Myers from Baghdad, and an employee of The New York Times from Diyala Province.

1 comment:

Mariposa said...

This is sad.

I pray for peace...