Two bombings shook Iraq Sunday morning. In the Misbah commercial center in the upscale Shiite Karrada district, a female suicide bomber detonated a belt bomb, killing 3 persons and wounding 10.
Meanwhile, in Mosul a car bomb killed 3. Mosul is the site of a major push against foreign fighters styled ‘al-Qaeda’ (really mainly Salafi Jihadis).
About 100 members of the Awakening Council of Hilla Province have gone on strike to protest the killing of three of them by the US military at Jurf al-Sakhr last Sunday, in what the Pentagon says was an accident. They claim they have lost 19 men to supposedly friendly fire in recent weeks and say they refuse to work under these conditions. On Sunday the US military admitted that it had mistakenly fired on its allies, but said they had fired at a US helicopter by accident first. (Does anyone but the US have helicopters in Iraq? How could that have been an accident? Or do the Shiite troops sometimes fly helicopters and was the fire intended for al-Maliki’s men?)
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the authorities and people in Diwaniya are afraid that on the Arba’in (the 40th day commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Husayn’s martyrdom), the cult-like Mahdist movement will resort to violence, just as its members did on the commemoration of the martyrdom itself in January. On that day, there was violence in Basra and Nasiriya. Police chief Safa’ Sahib `Akmush said he had put 8,000 police in the streets to protect pilgrim heading off to the Shiite holy city of Karbala. Police have intelligence that the Mahdists may attempt to take the small Shiite city southeast of Baghdad. He closed off the center of the city to automobile traffic. Locals stockpiled food in expectation of clashes with the Mahdists, who believe the last days are at hand.
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that officials in Baqubah are warning that as families are returning to the city, they could be forced right back out again, owing to sectarian tensions. Meanwhile, the “Popular committees” called again for the (Shiite) police chief to be forced out and brought up on charges of kidnapping (Sunni) women. They said it was a red line, from which they cannot back off. (Many members of these committees are also militiamen of the Awakening Councils, and they are also on strike to protest the police chief continuing in office). An unnamed security official said that armed men passed around pamphlets on Friday in the city warning that Shiite families earlier displaced, and who had just returned to the Jurf Milh and Awqaf districts of the city were at risk of being, should leave again within 48 hours. Two brothers from those families were killed near the former secret police HQ in the Tahrir distict. One family had their house blown up above their heads, and the police found 3 dead bodies in the trash dump on Sunday morning.
The protesters (of whom several thousand came out for a rally last Monday) say that they will not rest until they bring down the police chief.
McClatchy reports political violence for Saturday:
– Police found two bodies throughout Baghdad, one in Waziriyah and one in Jisr Diyala in northeast Baghdad.
– Around 11 a.m. A gunman killed an Iraqi army soldier in Al Mafraq area west Baquba.
– A booby trapped house exploded as the owner of the house and his son entered their house in Al Salam town north of Baquba. The two men were killed.
– A roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi police vehicle near the Abu Saida intersection (about 20 kilometers east of Baquba) killing two police officers.
– A roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army convoy near Imam Wais area (about 50 kilometers east of Baquba) killing one soldier and injuring another.
– A parked car bomb exploded in Kirkuk injuring two police men today. The car exploded as police approached the parked car after receiving reports of a car bomb in the area.
– A roadside bomb targeted police vehicle in downtown Kirkuk injuring two police officers.
– Police found five dead bodies on the outskirts of Ramadi city.’