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  • Death Toll in Iraq Blasts Rises to 250

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    Death Toll in Iraq Blasts Rises to 250
    By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer
    08/15/2007

    BAGHDAD - Rescuers used bare hands and shovels Wednesday to claw through clay houses shattered by an onslaught of suicide bombings that killed at least 250 and possibly as many as 500 members of an ancient religious sect in the deadliest attack of the Iraq war.

    The U.S. military blamed al-Qaida in Iraq, and an American commander called the assault an "act of ethnic cleansing."

    The victims of Tuesday night's coordinated attack by four suicide bombers were Yazidis, a small Kurdish-speaking sect that has been targeted by Muslim extremists who consider its members to be blasphemers.

    The blasts in two villages near the Syrian border crumbled buildings, trapping entire families beneath mud bricks and other wreckage. Entire neighborhoods were flattened.

    "This is an act of ethnic cleansing, if you will, almost genocide," Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq, told CNN. He said that was evident from the fact Yazidis live in a remote part of Ninevah province that has been far from Iraq's conflict.

    Mixon said last month that he proposed reducing American troop levels in Ninevah and predicted the province would shift to Iraqi government control as early as this month. It was unclear whether that projection would hold after Tuesday's staggering casualties.

    Death estimates ranged widely.

    Zayan Othman, health minister for Iraq's nearby autonomous Kurdish region, said 250 bodies had been pulled from the rubble and some 350 people were injured.

    But the death toll was put as high as 500 by some local officials, including Hashim al-Hamadani, a senior provincial security official; Kifah Mohammed, director of Sinjar hospital; and Iraqi army Capt. Mohammed Ahmed. They agreed with Othman that about 350 were wounded.

    None of the officials provided information on how they arrived at their estimates. The figures could not be independently checked because the area was under curfew and casualties had been taken to numerous hospitals.

    Even the lower death estimate far surpassed the previous bloodiest attack of the war _ 215 people killed by mortar fire and five car bombs in Baghdad's Shiite Muslim enclave of Sadr City last Nov. 23.

    U.S. officials believe insurgents have been regrouping across northern Iraq after being driven from strongholds in and around Baghdad, and the bombings coincided with the start of a major offensive by American and Iraqi troops against militants in the Diyala River Valley.

    The carnage dealt a serious blow to the Bush administrations hopes of presenting a positive picture in a progress report on Iraq to be delivered by the top U.S. commander, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker in about four weeks.

    Petraeus warned that he expected Sunni Arab insurgents to stage more spectacular attacks ahead of the report to Congress, whose members are deeply divided over whether to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

    "This is way out by the Syrian border, an area where we do think in fact some suicide bombers are able to come across the border. It's an area that is very, very remote _ quite small villages out there _ and it was disheartening for us, too, obviously," Petraeus told The Associated Press in an interview.

    "We've always said al-Qaida would try to carry out sensational attacks this month in particular," he added. "We've had some success against them in certain areas, but we've also said they do retain the capability to carry out these horrific and indiscriminate attacks such as the ones yesterday. There will be more of that, tragically."

    Minority sects such as the Yazidis are especially vulnerable as militants seek new targets to avoid the strict security measures clamped on Baghdad and surrounding areas to stop violence among warring Sunni and Shiite factions.

    Some Muslims and Christians consider an angel figure worshipped by Yazidis to be the devil, a charge the sect denies. The Islamic State in Iraq, an al-Qaida front group, distributed leaflets a week ago warning residents near the scene of Tuesday's bombings that an attack was imminent because Yazidis are "anti-Islamic."

    The sect also gained unwanted attention when some members stoned an 18-year-old Yazidi woman to death in April after she converted to Islam and fled her family with a Muslim boyfriend. Recent attacks on Yazidis have been blamed on al-Qaida-linked Sunni extremists seeking to avenge her death.

    The only Yazidi legislator in Iraq's 275-seat parliament called on the government to do more to protect the country's small communities.

    "The ethnic and religious minorities do not have militias while all the powerful parties have strong militias in Iraq," Amin Farhan said. "The government should protect these minorities by giving them weapons so that they can confront the terrorist groups."

    Officials in northwestern Iraq called on people to donate blood and pleaded for aid as many families were left homeless after their houses collapsed in the bombings near Sinjar.

    "The residents are appealing now to governmental and non-governmental organizations to help them with medicines, food, water and tents," Farhan said. "About 50 houses have completely collapsed over their families. Many of the victims have been badly dismembered. Rescuers are only finding pieces of dead bodies."

    Dakhil Qassim, the Sinjar mayor, said the four truck bombers approached two areas in the town of Qahataniya, 75 miles west of Mosul, from dirt roads and all exploded within minutes of each other. He said the casualty toll was expected to rise.

    "We are still digging with our hands and shovels because we can't use cranes because many of the houses were built of clay," Qassim said.

    Hospitals across the region were overwhelmed and only emergency vehicles were exempt from a curfew that was in place across towns west of Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad.

    Nurses dabbed the bloodied face of a young boy and held his hand as he wailed in pain. A toddler with bruised eyes had bandages wrapped around his head and arms.

    "The car bombs that were used all had the consistent profile of al-Qaida in Iraq violence," a U.S. military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, told reporters in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a statement blaming the bombings on "terrorism powers who seek to fuel sectarian strife and damage our people's national unity."

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement strongly condemning the attack, saying "nothing can justify such indiscriminate violence against innocent civilians." He urged Iraqi leaders to set aside political and religious differences to work together to protect civilians.

    Elsewhere in Iraq, at least 44 other people were killed or found dead Wednesday, including 24 bullet-riddled bodies of apparent victims of sectarian death squads usually run by Shiite militias. Five civilians also died in separate car bombings in the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk and the southern city of Hillah.

    Northeast of Baghdad, Iraqi civilians joined police to rise up against suspected al-Qaida-linked gunmen after a mortar attack in Buhriz. Eight gunmen and six civilians died in the fighting, police said.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Sameer N. Yacoub and Sinan Salaheddin contributed to this report.
    All your ACG posts are belong to us!

  • #2
    The Yazidi tribe is not Muslim. They keep pretty much to themselves, and have little role to play in the power dynamics of Iraq.

    That al-Qaeda would attack them is despicable.

    Nobody expects that the Yazidi would be attack, given the total senselessness of such an attack. But on hindsight, it all makes sense of course.

    Al-Qaeda has to launch a big attack to show that they are still viable, and more importantly, to influence American public opinion and Congress. Past dramatic attacks had sparked cries in the US to withdraw and that the US has been defeated. Since it's becoming increasingly difficult to do it elsewhere, they have to strike at innocent people that is not involved in the power struggle at all.

    Comment


    • #3
      These poor people were simply a very very soft target in a out of the way part of Iraq. This would suggest that some of these terrorist groups are resorting to these to cause "horror" to the outside world as they are possibly having trouble attacking their more usual targets in and around Baghdad. In an unfortuante way this could be an indication that the recent change in strategy is having an effect. Maybe thats wishful thinking on my part but either way may those poor people rest in peace.

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      • #4
        What p*ssed me off is that there's hardly any outrage.

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        • #5
          Guess these poor b###### worshiped the wrong God...Ah! Islam the religion of peace ... my arse!....Just think this is what we all have to look forward to IF Islam becomes a world religion....Disagree or worship another God and as Alice's Queen would say " off with his head"....

          per ardua ad astra

          Comment


          • #6
            Pretty soon Islam in Iraq will have eliminated all infidel minority presence so we can have the true peace and harmony in the Iraqi society. Congratulations to Islam, the champion of peace. The spirit of the Prophet rejoices as his teachings are being implemented.

            "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
            --Frederick II, King of Prussia

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
              These poor people were simply a very very soft target in a out of the way part of Iraq. This would suggest that some of these terrorist groups are resorting to these to cause "horror" to the outside world as they are possibly having trouble attacking their more usual targets in and around Baghdad. In an unfortuante way this could be an indication that the recent change in strategy is having an effect. Maybe thats wishful thinking on my part but either way may those poor people rest in peace.

              Good point to keep in mind and to keep an eye on too see how things develop.

              HP
              "Ask not what your country can do for you"

              Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

              you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

              Comment


              • #8
                Your average rank and file jihadist thinks he's doing this to destroy all those who don't believe and Allah and all that nonsense. But the guys at the top could care less about that stuff. They know what they are doing. This attack and all other spectacular attacks of this nature are carried out for the sole purpose of distracting everyone from the progress being made by the ISF and CF. Problem is that everyone has fallen right into their trap. Expect bigger and more spectacular attacks as the date for Petraeus' September report draws closer.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Don't you find it rather interesting that the only posts are those who see the the terrorists for who they really are.....a bunch of murdering bas**** who will kill anyone that doesn't support radical islam. Also, isn't it interesting that this dastardly "Tet" like attack was predicted by people with sound minds. And it would happend in an attempt to deflect from the progress that has been made.

                  I can see the "Drive-By" media and Liberal Democrats using this as a reason why we need to leave Iraq. Just like the IslamoFacsist want.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TigerVI67 View Post
                    Don't you find it rather interesting that the only posts are those who see the the terrorists for who they really are.....a bunch of murdering bas**** who will kill anyone that doesn't support radical islam. Also, isn't it interesting that this dastardly "Tet" like attack was predicted by people with sound minds. And it would happend in an attempt to deflect from the progress that has been made.

                    I can see the "Drive-By" media and Liberal Democrats using this as a reason why we need to leave Iraq. Just like the IslamoFacsist want.
                    But I think the people can see through the bull sh*t.

                    Attacking the Yazidi is a bit like a terrorist attack on the Amish. Other than the fact that they are a soft target and the terrorists' need to create a 'Tet' moment, I really can't see any reason for this atrocity at all.
                    Last edited by Ogukuo72; 16 Aug 07, 20:03.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
                      But I think the people can see through the bull sh*t.

                      Attacking the Yazidi is a bit like a terrorist attack on the Amish. Other than the fact that they are a soft target and the terrorists' need to create a 'Tet' moment, I really can't see any reason for this atrocity at all.
                      The Yazidi are not muslims. That is enough motive for the muslim fanatics to practice their terrorism.
                      "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by trailboss49 View Post
                        The Yazidi are not muslims. That is enough motive for the muslim fanatics to practice their terrorism.
                        Ya. Unfortunately, I think you're right.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
                          But I think the people can see through the bull sh*t.

                          Attacking the Yazidi is a bit like a terrorist attack on the Amish. Other than the fact that they are a soft target and the terrorists' need to create a 'Tet' moment, I really can't see any reason for this atrocity at all.
                          You know, I would like to agreed with you. But with the "Drive-By" media reporting only the negative angle, I just don't know anymore.

                          You and I know these characters are desparate and on the run (losing, lets wait and see), we can expect more murder and destruction where ever these guys go (For the deniers-EVEN IN AMERICA)

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                          • #14
                            Just proves what sort of enemy one is fighting.Despicable people who have to be defeated.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tigerivan View Post
                              Just proves what sort of enemy one is fighting.Despicable people who have to be defeated.
                              So, I'm curious about the muslims in your part of the world. Our media paints it as them doing anything they want while your governments kow-tow to them & was the murder of Picaso way out of the ordinary or something to be expected?
                              "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

                              Comment

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