Monday, August 10, 2009

Bombings in Iraq Kill Dozens


BAGHDAD — At least 39 people were killed and more than 209 were wounded early Monday morning as a series of bomb attacks struck Baghdad and a village near the northern city of Mosul.

A pair of truck bombs exploded simultaneously, destroying an entire Shiite village known as Khazna, about ten miles east of Mosul, according to an official in the Ministry of Interior who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with ministry policy.

The village is inhabited mainly by Shiite Shabaks, a small Kurdish-speaking minority that lives in northern Iraq.

The police in Mosul said 30 homes were destroyed from the two bombs, which were placed in trucks that had been parked overnight in the village. Police officials put the preliminary toll of casualties at 23 dead and 128 wounded.

George Kako, a resident and contractor in the nearby town of Bartella, said many people in Khazna were still trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. He said he had provided an earthmover to help in the rescue effort.

“It is a horrifying and disgusting scene,” said Mr. Kako, speaking by telephone from Bartella. “Those who did it are not human.”

In Baghdad, two other blasts targeted lines of workers who had gathered to look for jobs as day laborers, one in the El Amal district, the other in Shorta, both of which are Shiite areas.

The El Amal blast went off at 6 a.m., killing seven and wounding 46. Half an hour later, the explosion in Shorta killed nine and wounded 35, according to the ministry official. Both explosions were attributed to bombs in cars that had been parked in the areas for a long period of time.

A similar string of attacks struck Mosul and Baghdad last Friday, the weekly day of public prayer in Islam. Those bombings killed at least 43 people and wounded hundreds, police officials said, and they came at the end of an important Shiite religious occasion.

The attacks on Friday occurred just two days after the Iraqi government said it would lift all blast walls from the main roads in the capital, and the head of Baghdad’s operations command, Maj. Gen. Abud Qanbar, declared that “security is not an issue anymore.”

A week earlier, five Shiite mosques in Baghdad had been bombed in coordinated attacks. At least 29 people were killed in those blasts.

The sprawling, seething city of Mosul, among the most violent places in Iraq, is home to militants with ties to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the mostly homegrown insurgent group that is known to have some foreign leadership. The city is also the home of the banned Baath Party, once led by Saddam Hussein, who erected a large palace compound there. It was from Mosul and other towns in Nineveh Province that Saddam recruited many of his senior generals and closest aides.

Most American forces have withdrawn from posts within Mosul and are now garrisoned at a base. A fractious power struggle between Sunni Arab and Kurdish political factions has further complicated the security issue in the province, which is home to a number of ethnic and religious groups.

Source: New York Times

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