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Iraq Slaughter: 63 Killed, 257 Wounded

Margaret Griffis

March 20, 2012

At least 63 Iraqis were killed and 257 more were wounded in a series of attacks that took place a day after the ninth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. While the date may be significant, the attacks could also be a simple prelude to Arab League related violence.

Although many civilians were among the victims, the blasts seemed to focus on security targets. Several prominent politicians and security officials were the target of assassination attempts as well. Not all the victims were Iraqis, however. In Karbala, visiting Iranian pilgrims were among the dead and injured. Also, the apparently coordinated bombings may have begun last night with a series of attacks in Diyala province.

First Deputy of Parliament Speaker Qusay Al Suhail warned that the bombings were meant to destabilize the country ahead of the upcoming Arab League meeting, which takes place in Baghdad next week. A spokesman for the prime minister said attacks will not affect the meeting, the first in Iraq in over 20 years. The Iraqiya party, which has called for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s resignation, held the prime minister responsible for the lapse in security. About 100,000 extra security personnel will be deployed to prevent attacks in Baghdad.

In Baghdad, a car bomb exploded near the Foreign Ministry, killing three people and wounded nine more. This may have been this same bombing that targeted Baghdad’s governor. In any case, final preparations for the Arab League gathering are taking place at the ministry, so a bombing there is a clear sign of purpose.

A second bomb in Baghdad killed at least five people and wounded 28 more. Three guards were killed at a church in Mansour. Another car bomb was successfully defused in the Karrada district.

Two car bombs in Karbala killed at least 13 people and wounded 50 more. Some of the victims were Iranian pilgrims, and they may have been the intended targets. Iranian travelers often use the rest stop where the blasts occurred.

In Kirkuk, a car or suicide bomber killed 13 policemen and wounded 59 more. A second blast left no casualties. An I.E.D. targeted the police chief, but no casualties were reported.

Three people were killed and 33 more were wounded during a bombing near a prison in Hilla or in Kut. Most of the victims were in Hilla.

In Ramadi, two bombs killed at least six people and wounded 22 more. One of the bombs targeted Anbar’s governor.

A car bomb blew up in Mahmoudiya, killing three people and wounding 13 more.

Gunmen killed a woman in Mosul. Five security personnel were killed in two bombings.

A blast in Mafraq left 20 wounded.

Ten people were wounded in a bombing in Tobzawah.

Three policemen were killed and four more were wounded during a blast in Baaj.

A bombing at a policeman’s home in Falluja killed his wife and son.

Gunmen killed a Sahwa member in Muqdadiya.

Five people were wounded during a blast in Baiji.

A car bomb in Samarra wounded four people.

A Tuz Khormato councilman was shot dead.

In Tabana, a civilian was shot dead.

Wounded were also reported in Duluiya.

Mortars fell near two army checkpoints in Jurf al-Sakhar but no casualties were reported.


:: Article nr. 86668 sent on 21-mar-2012 04:20 ECT


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