The Power Of SMS

Deadly market bomb hits Iraq city

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 1, 2009

BBC NEWS

At least 27 people have been killed by a car bomb at a market in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, officials say.

The attack in the Shurja district came as Iraqis celebrated the withdrawal of US troops from towns and cities in Iraq, six years after the invasion.

US President Barack Obama said the move was an important milestone for Iraq, but that “difficult days” lay ahead.

The Kirkuk blast came 10 days after a truck bomb killed more than 70 in the city’s deadliest attack in over a year.

Iraqi and US troops have been on alert for attacks during the pullback, which was declared a national holiday.

Police Brig Gen Sarhat Qadir told the Associated Press news agency that at least 40 people had been wounded in the latest blast, caused by an explosives-laden vehicle parked near the crowded outdoor Shurja market.

Volatile mix

A teeming maze of shops and stalls, Shurja is one of the country’s best-known markets, attracting buyers and sellers from all over Iraq, say correspondents.

Kirkuk, about 250km (155 miles) from Baghdad, was also the scene of two suicide bombings last month, in which 14 people were killed.

The city is the centre of northern Iraq’s oil industry, and home to a volatile mix of Kurds, Arabs, Christians and members of the Turkmen community.

The BBC’s Jim Muir in Baghdad says Tuesday’s car bomb appears to be just the kind of attack designed to stir up ethnic tensions between Kurds and Arabs.

Most of the other bombs that have killed around 250 people in the past fortnight have been aimed at Shia areas.

Our correspondent says the clear aim is to reignite the sectarian carnage that took the country to the brink of civil war three years ago.

With American troops now taking a back seat, the big question, our correspondent adds, is can Iraqi forces cope with the challenge?

‘Senseless’

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki is adamant they can.

Map
 Those who think Iraqis are unable to protect their country commit a big mistake 
Nouri Maliki
Iraqi Prime Minister

“Those who think that Iraqis are not able to protect their country and that the withdrawal of foreign forces will create a security vacuum are committing a big mistake,” he said earlier, in a nationally televised address.

Our correspondent says Mr Maliki’s police and troops will have to prove on the ground that they are Iraqis – not Shias or Sunnis or Kurds – if they are to prevail.

In Washington, President Obama called the Kirkuk bombing “senseless”, adding: “The future belongs to those who build, not to those who destroy.”

Meanwhile, despite their pullback from cities and towns, US troops will still be embedded with Iraqi forces.

Hours before the Monday night deadline for the withdrawal, four US soldiers were killed in combat in Baghdad.

US commanders have said security and stability are improving.

 

US troop numbers in Iraq

Iraqi soldiers paraded through Baghdad’s streets on Monday in vehicles decorated with flowers and Iraqi flags, while patriotic songs were played through loudspeakers at checkpoints.

The pullback comes two years after the US “surge” of extra troops between February and June 2007, which saw US troop levels in Iraq reach about 170,000.

US-led combat operations are due to end by September 2010, with all troops gone from Iraq by the end of 2011.

Some 131,000 US troops remain in Iraq, including 12 combat brigades, and the total is not expected to drop below 128,000 until after the Iraqi national election in January.

Advertisements
Tagged with: ,

Wave of bombings kill at least 22 in Baghdad

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 23, 2009

CNN.COM

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — A series of five bombings killed at least 22 people and wounded dozens of others Monday in Baghdad, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.

A roadside bomb hits a minibus Monday in Baghdad's Sadr City, leaving a bloody scene with three dead.

A roadside bomb hits a minibus Monday in Baghdad’s Sadr City, leaving a bloody scene with three dead.

At least four people were killed and 20 others were wounded Monday evening when a bomb detonated in a market on the northeastern outskirts of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said.

The bomb was attached to a motorcycle in the marketplace in the predominantly Shiite district of Hussainiya, the official said.

Earlier Monday, a suicide car bomb exploded outside the local council office in the Abu Ghraib district in the western outskirts of the Iraqi capital. At least seven people were killed and 13 others were wounded, an Interior Ministry official said.

The U.S. military said the bomb damaged a military vehicle that was providing security for the local council meeting. Four U.S soldiers were wounded, the military said.

Five people were killed and 20 wounded when a car bomb exploded on a commercial street in the Karrad district of central Baghdad about 8 a.m., a ministry official said.

Also, a roadside bomb struck a minibus carrying students, killing three of them. The blast, on the edge of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, also left 13 people wounded, including five students, the Interior Ministry official said.

Another roadside bomb exploded in an outdoor market in the Shaab neighborhood in southeastern Baghdad, killing three people and wounding 30 others.

Meanwhile, in Mosul, eight people were killed, including two policemen and two soldiers, in three incidents, according to an official with Iraq’s Interior Ministry.

In one incident, clashes erupted between Iraqi police and gunmen in central Mosul, leaving five people dead, including two policemen and two gunmen.

Gunmen also attacked a security checkpoint in Mosul with small arms fire, killing two Iraqi soldiers. And gunmen shot and killed a civilian as he stood outside his home in Mosul, according to the Interior Ministry official.

The wave of attacks came two days after the year’s deadliest attack when a suicide truck bombing killed about 80 people in the northern Iraqi town of Taza. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called Saturday’s attack a “heinous terrorist crime.”

Al-Maliki called the blast “an attempt to undermine the security and stability and spread a lack of confidence in the capabilities of Iraqi forces who are preparing to take over the security responsibility after U.S troops withdraw from the cities by the end of the month.”

Under a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that went into effect at the beginning of this year, all U.S. combat troops must pull out of Iraqi cities, towns and localities into bases by the end of this month. There had been talk of combat troops remaining in some cities, including Mosul, but the U.S. military said that would be an Iraqi decision. The Iraqi government in May said all combat troops will leave urban areas by the June 30 deadline.  All U.S. troops are to be out of Iraq by December 31, 2011, according to the security agreement.

Last week, al-Maliki warned of increased political violence in the country, citing a June 10 bombing in the southern town of Bathaa that killed more than 30 people and wounded dozens.

He predicted attempts would be made to undermine Iraqi security forces as U.S. troops complete their withdrawal from cities and ahead of planned national elections.

Tagged with: , ,

‘Many dead’ in Iraq truck bombing

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 21, 2009

BBC NEWS

At least 64 people have been killed by a suicide truck bomb near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Iraqi police say.

About 160 others were injured in the blast, which happened near a Shia mosque in Taza, officials said.

At least a dozen nearby mud-brick homes were flattened by the explosion, and the mosque also was badly damaged.

The latest attack comes days before US forces are due to withdraw from towns and cities in Iraq, leading to concerns that violence could escalate.

“This ugly crime is an attempt to harm security and stability and spread mistrust of the Iraqi forces,” Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said in a statement.

Just hours before the attack, he had promised the withdrawal would go ahead as promised, calling it a “great victory”.

“Don’t lose heart if a breach of security occurs here or there,” he said.

The bombing is one of the deadliest attacks in Iraq so far this year, says the BBC’s Jim Muir in Baghdad.

It happened as worshippers were leaving the packed Al-Rasoul mosque, run by the minority Turkmen community in the town of Taza, just to the south of Kirkuk, after midday prayers.

The force of the blast left a deep crater in the ground.

Map

Victims were ferried to Kirkuk’s main Azadi Hospital, where there were chaotic scenes as bloodied casualties, including children, were rushed into wards.

Kirkuk, about 250km (155 miles) from Baghdad, was the scene of two suicide bombings last month, in which 14 people were killed.

The city is the centre of northern Iraq’s oil industry, and home to a volatile mix of Kurds, Arabs, Christians and members of the Turkmen community.

The US plans to withdraw its troops from Iraqi cities and major towns by 30 June, and is due to end combat operations across Iraq by September 2010, leaving Iraqi security forces to cope alone.

There are concerns that insurgents may try to take advantage of the withdrawal, although the country’s leaders say Iraqi forces are capable of handling internal security without US support.

Tagged with: ,