Sunday, May 07, 2006

The latest violence in Iraq

The depth of the continuing sectarian war can be seen in two articles.

First, from the Washington Post:
BAGHDAD, May 7 -- A series of nearly simultaneous car bomb attacks struck Baghdad and the Shiite Muslim holy city of Karbala Sunday morning, killing more than 30 Iraqis, police and eyewitnesses said.

The first two car bombs detonated in two Sunni Muslim neighborhoods in northern Baghdad. The third went off near the provincial government building in Karbala about 50 miles south of the capital.


The attack in Karbala targeted the Shiite Ahl al-Bait Mosque, just a half mile from the holy shrines of Imams al-Hussein and al-Abbas. The blast took place amid a traffic jam caused by a car accident in a busy street, where witnesses said the suicide attacker was stuck when he detonated his load of explosives. Several cars wrecked by the bomb and a resulting fire.
Second, from the Los Angeles Times:
BAGHDAD — More Iraqi civilians were killed in Baghdad during the first three months of this year than at any time since the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime — at least 3,800, many of them found hogtied and shot execution-style.

Others were strangled, electrocuted, stabbed, garroted or hanged. Some died in bombings. Many bore signs of torture such as bruises, drill holes, burn marks, gouged eyes or severed limbs.
The New York Times on the violence in Basra after a British helicopter crashed there:
Many of the chanting Iraqis were from the Tweisa neighborhood, where support for the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr runs high. Mr. Sadr has frequently channeled the anger of impoverished Shiites against American and British forces.

Last September, for instance, British forces fought gun battles with Mr. Sadr's militia after two undercover British soldiers were seized.
The Los Angeles Times:
Many Iraqis say they fear that Basra, just miles from Iran and believed to be heavily under its sway, could become a battleground between London and Tehran in their dispute over the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions. U.S., British and Iraqi officials have accused Iranians of interfering in Iraq by supplying weapons and training to Shiite militias, including radical cleric Muqtada Sadr's Al Mahdi army.

Saturday's troubles began with a thundering explosion as the helicopter crashed into a two-story home. As smoke, fire and soot rose from the crash site, British soldiers cordoned off the upscale Saee district, an area of large single-family homes near the governor's office and several compounds housing British personnel.

Residents gathering near the scene cheered the crash and chanted, "Long live the Mahdi army." Sadr's militia has had numerous run-ins with British authorities in the south.


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