Massive Bomb in Sadr City Kills 74, Wounds 114
Bin Laden Warns on Shiite Militias
Guerrillas detonated a massive car bomb at a market in Sadr City (Shiite East Baghdad). Late reports spoke of 74 dead [Ar.] and nearly 200 wounded, with the numbers likely to rise.
The massacre came as Usamah Bin Laden issued a new audiotape complaining of the attacks on Iraqi Sunni Arabs and threatening Iraq’s Shiites with retribution. He also warned that al-Qaeda would fight the US everywhere in the world, including inside the country itself.
In his audio tape, Bin Laden said, “Every day, the world sees and hears what is done by the extremist Shiite militias, including the Mahdi Army, the Badr Corps, etc.” Bin Laden some time ago decided to give up on the hope of a pan-Islamic Sunni-Shiite alliance against the US. Most of his foot-soldiers hate Shiites. But in fact, only a pan-Islamic movement could succeed politically in Iraq. On the other hand, fomenting Sunni-Shiite warfare has proven an effective strategy for making the country ungovernable and dulling the American appetite to stay there. But it is a spoiler strategy, offering no positive vision or hope for the future, only human misery on a vast scale. But then that is what Bin Laden is about.
Some reports said the weapon in the Sadr City bombing was an auto outfitted as a car bomb parked near the market, which is bustling every day at that time. It is said to have been detonated by cell phone as a police patrol passed by. Most of the victims were women and children, since that market is especially frequented by women. Many bodies were crushed and mingled inextricably together while some were thrown onto nearby rooftops. The explosion destroyed 50 shops and 20 automobiles [Ar.], as well. Among the autos were some passing by, such that their drivers were incinerated in them, and others were taxis parked near the market.
KarbalaNews.net said that many in Sadr City put indirect blame for the blast on the United States military, which had forbidden the Mahdi Army militiamen from maintaining checkpoints at the market where they used to inspect cars for weapons. The Mahdi Army is made up of irregulars loyal to nationalist Shiite clergyman Muqtada al-Sadr.
The USG Open Source Center translated a broadcast of the Iranian al-Alam satellite television, seen in Iraq, in which a representative of the Sadr Movement hinted that the US was directly behind the blast, in retaliation for Muqtada al-Sadr’s Friday call for a timetable for US withdrawal from Iraq. (Muqtada said he rejected reconciliation with the Americans, the Baathists, and the Sunni Arab radicals who target Shiites.) This charge is absurd, but some of Sadr’s followers may well believe it.
For even a handful of US troops in Iraq to plot out rape and murder against Iraqis will only make it easier for Iraqis to believe that the US is behind many of the bombings.
Some Sadrists were saying that the US had failed in its obligation [Ar.] to protect the people of Sadr City, and that the security file should be given to the Mahdi Army, not the new Iraqi military.
In fact, credit for the bombing was claimed on the internet by “Supporters of the Sunni Community”, not a gourp about which we have a great deal of reliable information.
Guerrillas kidnapped a female member of parliament from the Sunni fundamentalist Iraqi Accord Front, Taysir al-Mashhadani, 30, on Saturday–along with 8 of her bodyguards. She and her entourage were coming from Baquba, where she works as an engineer in a public company. You can’t have democracy when representatives of the people are being kidnapped at will.
The USG Open Source Center paraphrases highlights of the Iraqi press for July 1:
Dar al-Salam on 29 June carries on the front page a 500-word report citing Abd-al-Karim al-Samarra’i, parliament member from [the Sunni Arab] Iraqi Al-Tawafuq [Accord] Front and member of Iraqi Islamic Party’s Political Bureau, describing the situation in Basra as “massacre” and holding Shiite militias backed by regional forces responsible for the killing and displacement of Sunnis in the governorate . .
Dar al-Salam on 29 June runs on page 2 reports a 500-word report accusing “occupation” forces of imposing a tight siege around Al-Dulu’iyah and Yathrib Districts in Salah al-Din Governorate.
Dar al-Salam on 29 June publishes on page 2 a 75-word report and a 500-word report citing eyewitnesses confirming the arrest of Albu Hatam Tribal Chief in Amiriyat al-Fallujah on 28 June . . .
Al-Basa’ir on 29 June carries on page 3 a 250-word report citing Mosque Imam Shaykh Muhammad al-Khatib revealing that “occupation” forces tried to tempt approximately 50 Sunni mosque imams in Mosul to moderate their discourse last week. . .
Al-Zaman carries on page 2 a 400-word report on the statement issued by [Sunni] Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zawba’i yesterday, 30 June, urging Justice Ministry to defy secret informers, whose malicious reports have placed a large number of innocent people behind bars.
Al-Mashriq carries on page 3 a 1,000-word interview with Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi saying that foreign forces will leave most Iraqi cities by the end of the year.
Al-Mu’tamar carries on page 5 a 2,000-word interview with the president of Baghdad University who says that the goal behind targeting university professors is to force them to leave Iraq.
Al-Basa’ir on 29 June carries on the front page and page 2 reports accusing militias, “occupation”occupation” forces and Interior Ministry’s forces of killing, attacking, kidn apping, and arresting Palestinians and Sunnis in Baghdad, Basra and other governorates.
Al-Basa’ir on 29 June publishes on page 2 a 170-word report citing a security source, who requested anonymity, confirming the discovery of the bodies of 15 Iraqi women in Baghdad recently.
Al-Basa’ir on 29 June publishes on page 2 a 200-word report citing eyewitnesses accusing Shiite militias of attacking and fully destroying a Sunni mosque in Khirnabat District in Diyala Governorate. . .
Al-Basa’ir on 29 June carries on page 3 a 140-word report citing eyewitnesses accusing “occupation” forces of killing a six member family in Al-Saqlawiyah District in Al-Anbar Governorate.
Al-Basa’ir on 29 June publishes on page 3 a 900-word report holding infiltrators backed by militias responsible for the recent assassination of Police General Hudayri al-Janabi and other officials and citizens in Al-Fallujah.
Al-Zaman carries on the front page a 250-word report citing a security source confirming that US forces eased the siege imposed on Al-Dulu’iyah District since one month.
Al-Zaman runs on page 3 a 1,300-word report entitled ‘Citizens Tend To Buy Religious DVD Containing Shots on Military Operations; Shop Owners: We Resorted to Satellite and Internet Services To Avoid Problems.’
Al-Da’wah on 29 June carries on the front page a 220-word report citing persons coming from Mosul saying that Shiites are being killed in several areas of Mosul.
Al-Da’wah on 29 June carries on the front page a 250-word report citing a source at Higher Education and Scientific Research Ministry saying that the ministry has decided to conduct a sit-in in all its universities and departments protesting the kidnapping of students.
Al-Bayyinah on 29 June carries on page 4 a 280-word report citing eyewitnesses saying that parliament members’ body guards staged a demonstration in the Green Zone protesting their bad conditions and calling for their rights.
Al-Sabah carries on the front page a 200-word report citing a tribal sheikh in Samarra saying that Samarra’s inhabitants have allocated 100 million dinars to any person who can kill Haytham al-Badri. [Said to be behind bombing of Shiite Askariyah shrine in Samarra; this is Sunni Shaikhs being ecumenical.]
Al-Sabah carries on page 4 a 170-word report that Maysan tribal chiefs have signed a charter of honor to track down terrorists and criminals.
Al-Ittijah al-Akhar on 24 June carries on page 3 a 350-word report on a letter by Media Committee for Palestinian Displaced Persons to Mish’an al-Juburi, chairman of Reconciliation and Liberation Bloc, to protect Palestinians in Iraq.
Al-Ittijah al-Akhar on 24 June carries on page 9 a 160-word exclusive report citing an Iraqi translator saying that US forces in Al-Durah are attacked everyday by armed groups.
Al-Mashriq carries on the front page a 50-word report citing the Iranian foreign minister saying that combating th e smuggling of weapons from and to Iraq is one of Iran’s priorities.
Al-Mashriq carries on page 2 a 500-word report citing Al-Fadilah Islamic Party denouncing the non commitment of southern and central governorates to the general strike announced in protest of the arrest of the head of Karbala Governorate Council.
Al-Mada runs on the front page a 400-word report citing a spokesman for US Army in Iraq confirming that most foreign fighters in Iraq are Egyptians.
Dar al-Salam on 29 June carries on the front page a 400-word report on the statement issued by UNAMI estimating the number of homeless people in Iraq at 1.3 million.
Al-Zaman runs on the front page a 900-word report citing doctors and activists confirming that one third of Iraqi children are deprived of basic requirements and urging the government and parliament to focus on the rehabilitation of the children’s sector.
Al-Sabah carries on page 2 a 130-word report citing spokesman for Civil Administration in Al-Najaf saying that the cabinet has agreed to allocate land to martyrs’ families.