49 Killed, 130 Wounded in Iraq’s Day of Rage
Car bombs and other attacks killed at least 49 Iraqis on Monday and left at least 130 wounded, according to AP. Four American troops have also been killed in the past two days.
Al-Zaman/ AFP :
In Telafar, a largely Turkmen city in the north, two suicide bombers set off their payloads outside the mansion of Hasan Bekdash Al Julagh, a local notable, killing 20 civilians and wounding 10 seriously. That morning, someone had tossed a grenade into Al Julagh’s garden, killing his son. Wire services say that Al Dulagh was a Shiite Turkmen with close ties to Massoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party. (Most Turkmen do not get along with the Kurds). These clues make for a murder mystery of some complexity. Was he killed because he is a Shiite? Or because he is a Turkmen client of Kurdish leader Barzani?
BBC World Monitoring for May 22 notes, “Al-Mada publishes on the front page a 150-word report saying that three National Assembly Turkoman members have sent an “urgent call” to President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja’fari to quickly solve the “tragic situation” in Tal’far which is the work of the Takfiri [hard line Sunni] forces that have come from beyond the borders.” That is, they are saying that largely Turkmen Telafar has nevertheless become a base for jihadi activity on the part of foreign fighters slipping across the border from Syria, which is nearby. This situation may help explain Al Julagh’s fate. (Takfir means excommunication, and it is what the Shiites feel the extremist Salafis do to them.)
In Talibiyah, in the poor Shiite Jamilah quarter of northeast Baghdad, guerrillas detonated an enormous bomb in front of the Haba’ibna [“Our Dear Friends”] eating complex, which had a restaurant, a cafe and a sweets shop. The explosion killed 10 and left 113 wounded. Some twenty-two automobiles were destroyed at the smoldering site. Police had for some time frequented the place, but the owners had recently asked them to stop coming, for fear that their presence might provoke such terrorism. I saw the footage on LBC, and it took a strong stomach to watch the wounded carried away. The bomb crater looked gigantic.
In Tuz Khurmatu south of Kirkuk, a suicide bomber killed 7 civilians and wounded 13 outside the governor’s mansion. Among the wounded was an official of the Kurdistan Patriotic Union.
In Samarra (an hour north of Baghdad), guerrillas set off two car bombs in front of the main gate to the US base, wounding 4 civilians and four Americans. A third man wearing a bomb belt blew himself up at the same site, but had been shot before he could get close enough to inflict casualties. Mortar shells also fell on the police station, killing 2 and wounding 21.
In Mahmudiyah (half an hour south of Baghdad), on Monday night guerrillas detonated a car bomb near a Shiite worship center, killing 5 and wounding 19, most of them children. The center was a Husainiyah, a building dedicated to mourning Imam Husain and other early Shiite leaders, and it is an institution distinctive to Shiites. An attack on it is clearly sectarian.
In Kirkuk, a house took mortar fire, producing an unspecified number of casualties, both killed and wounded.
AFP says, “Major General Wael Rubaye, the new commander of a special operations room recently set up by the ministry for national security to coordinate the fight against insurgents, and his driver were shot dead by insurgents in the capital early Monday, the cabinet office said in a statement.” When your coordinator of the fight against insurgents is shot just after he is appointed, you can conclude two things. 1) You have been heavily infiltrated. 2) Your security is not good.
The US military along with 15,000 Iraqi troops claimed to have made a sweep of some dangerous Baghdad neighborhoods, arresting 285 Iraqis they suspected of being terrorists, and capturing $6 million in cash. The claims could not be independently verified by AFP. The sweep will last several days.
It was announced, according to al-Hayat, that 295 American civilians and security personnel have been killed in Iraq so far this year.