50 Killed, 114 Wounded in Coordinated Series of 17 Bombings
3 Americans Killed, 7 wounded
The guerrilla movement pulled off a spectacular set of bombings in Iraq on Friday, as though responding decisively to President Bush’s news conference Thursday night in which he said, ” “I believe we’re making really good progress in Iraq . . .” In Azamiyah, a relatively well-off Sunni Arab neighborhood in Baghdad known for its Sunni fundamentalism, guerillas detonated 4 bombs in quick succession, mainly targeting police and military. This set of attacks alone left 20 dead.
Another coordinated set of bombing attacks was carried out in Mada’in near Baghdad, where an initial explosion was set off as bait to attact peolice and army troops, then when they arrived they were targeted with bombs. These attacks killed 13.
Guerrillas stressed their ability to strike all over the country, also hitting targets in Baquba, Irbil, Basra and elsewhere. (Irbil is in the far northern Kurdish region, Basra a largely Shiite city in the far south.
On another front, Adnan Dulaimi, head of the Sunni Board of Pious Endowments, announced that one Sunni prayer leader was killed and 4 were arrested in separate incidents over the previous 24 hours. He said, “Shaikh Rahim Ali Jum`ah, prayer leader at the Nawfal Mosque in the village of Sakhr [an hour’s drive north of Baghdad] was killed when a mortar shell landed on his house.” He added that forces from the Interior Ministry and the National Guards carried out a campaign of arresting Sunni prayer leaders on Thursday, in Baghdad and its surroundings, in the course of which 4 were taken into custody.
Ash-Sharq al-Awsat says that the Journalists’ Guild in Jordan has praised the “resistance” in Iraq for standing against “US military occupation” of that county. In all the worst case scenarios so far put forward, a future war between Shiite Iraqis and Sunni Jordan is the most under-rated.
In the US, a freedom of information request led the Pentagon to release photos of flag-draped coffins of US miitary personnel killed in Iraq. The Bush administration has gone to unprecedented lengths to keep such images out of the press. Indeed, it seems to me that Bush has violated the first amendment with these restrictions.