At Least 78 Killed in Iraq Bombings; AP: At Least 110,000 Dead in Violence

Brian Murphy of AP reports that bombings in Iraq killed 78 persons on Thursday

A female suicide bomber in the upscale Shiite neighborhood of Karrada in Baghdad struck a crowd that had gathered to receive Red Crescent aid, killing 31, including 8 police officers, and wounding 50.

To the northeast, near Muqdadiya, a suicide bomber hit a restaurant frequented by Shiite pilgrims from Iran on their way to the Shiite holy sites (Samarra, Kazimiya, Najaf, Karbala, etc.) in Iraq. That bombing killed at least 47 people and wounded 69, the bulk of them Iranians. The province of Baqubah, where the bombing took place, contains a mixed population of Sunni Arabs, Shiites and Kurds and is among the more violent places in Iraq, as the three groups continue to jockey for position and to mount low-intensity warfare against one another. Since Iran is a major support for Diyala’s Shiites, Sunni Arab guerrillas want to attack that lifeline, making sense of the killing of the Iranian pilgrims.

Actually, McClatchy says that the restaurant was so badly damaged that it collapsed, and many more bodies are likely to be pulled out of the rubble.

There have been 33 major bombings in Iraq in April.

Kim Gamel of AP gets the scoop– she reports that she has sprung from the Iraqi ministry of health the tabulated figures on violent deaths in Iraq since 2005. Altogether, combining the Iraqi list of over 87,000 death with tolls kept by other sources back to 2003, AP is estimating 110,000 dead by violence since the US invasion of Iraq began. This figure excludes guerrillas and militiamen whose fellow fighters did not want them going to an official morgue. The number is almost certainly only a fraction of the real deaths, which could number in the hundreds of thousands according to cluster surveys. Likewise, the AP number excludes those Iraqis killed by lack of potable water and other breakdowns in service delivery, including medical care, who are probably as numerous as those killed in violence.

Nir Rosen argues that the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement has decisively lost, with Baghdad having become a largely Shiite city that denies Sunni cells demographic cover, and that both Shiites and Sunnis now recognize this change. He says that al-Maliki can crack down on the Sunni “Awakening Councils” with impunity as a result.

I agree with Nir that the Sunni Arabs have lost the guerrilla war. However, that can have other outcomes than quiescence. Those who lose a guerrilla war often turn to terrorism as a force multiplier. The winter of the Sunni Arabs’ discontent could be a long one.

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that Iraq’s reconciliation commission will decline to negotiation with the two large Baath cells of Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri and Muhammad Yunus al-Ahmad. These two are considered “Saddamist” under the terms of the Iraqi constitution, and so talking to them is a “red line” that the commission is unwilling to cross.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq for Thursday:

‘ Baghdad

A suicide bomber wearing a suicide vest detonated near a gathering of National Police while they were distributing humanitarian aid in 52 Street, Karrada, central Baghdad Thursday. The explosion killed 28 people and injured 50 others.

A roadside bomb exploded near juvenile hall in Tobchi, central Baghdad injuring two civilians at 6 p.m.

Diyala

A suicide bomber wearing a suicide vest detonated in a roadside restaurant 45 km to the east of Baquba killing 55 people including two Iraqis, 16 women and one child; the rest were Iranian men and injuring 68 others at 2.30 p.m. Thursday. Most of the people in the restaurant were Iranian pilgrims on their way to visit the holy shrines in Karbala and Najaf.

Two houses belonging to displaced families from Timim tribe were blown up Thursday morning, the first in al Mualimeen neighbourhood, western Baquba and the other in Tahrir neighbourhood in east Baquba. The houses were empty and they belonged to two Shiite families who had intended to return.

Gunmen attacked and killed Sheikh Salih Mustafa Mohammed, sheikh of al Askar tribe in the marketplace in northeastern Baquba at 10 a.m. Thursday.

A roadside bomb targeted Mubarak Hammad al Obaidi, commander of Sahwa in Khalis county. The incident took place in al Atheim district, around 15 km to the north of Baquba Thursday evening. Obaidi and three of his aids were killed and two others were injured.

Salahuddin

A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt detonated inside al Khulafaa Mosque in Dhiluiyah district, 90 km to the south of Tikrit, Wednesday during evening prayers killing four worshipers, injuring 15 others amongst which was Yasir Mahmoud, brother of Mulla Nathum Mahmoud, head of Support Councils in Dhiluiyah.

Nineveh

A roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi Army patrol in al Zahraa neighbourhood, eastern Mosul, Thursday morning injuring two civilians

A parked car bomb targeted a U.S. military convoy in Suk al Nebi neighbourhood, eastern Mosul. No casualties were reported.

A gunman threw a hand grenade at a group of civilians in Ras al Jada neighbourhood, western Mosul injuring four.

A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt attempted to get inside one of the headquarters of the Peshmerga (the Kurdish forces of the Kurdistan Democratic Party) in Barzan village to the northwest of Mosul Wednesday. The Peshmerga suspected him and shot at him, then he detonated without causing any casualties. A few minutes later a car bomb exploded some distance away injuring two Peshmerga members.’

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