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2007 Yazidi communities bombings

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2007 Yazidi communities bombings

2007 Yazidi communities bombings
Location of Kahtaniya in Iraq
Location Kahtaniya and Jazeera, Iraq
Date August 14, 2007 (UTC+3)
Target Yazidis
Attack type
Car bombs
Deaths 796[1]
Non-fatal injuries
1,562
Suspected perpetrators
Al-Qaeda in Iraq.[2]

The 2007 Yazidi communities bombings occurred at around 7:20 pm local time on August 14, 2007, when four co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks detonated in the Yazidi towns of Kahtaniya and Jazeera (Siba Sheikh Khidir), near Mosul.

Iraqi Red Crescent's estimates say the bombs killed 796 and wounded 1,562 people,[1][3] making this the Iraq War's most deadly car bomb attack during the period of major American combat operations. It was also the second deadliest act of terrorism in history, following only behind the September 11 attacks in the United States.

Tensions and background

For several months leading up the attack, tensions had been building up in the area, particularly between Yazidis and Sunni Muslims (Muslims including Arabs and Kurds). Some Yazidis living in the area received threatening letters calling them "infidels".[4] Leaflets were also distributed denouncing Yazidis as "anti-Islamic" and warning them that an attack was imminent.[5][6]

The attack might be connected to an incident wherein Du’a Khalil Aswad, a Yazidi teenage woman, was stoned to death. Aswad was believed to have wanted to convert in order to marry a Sunni.[7][8] Two weeks later, after a video of the stoning appeared on the Internet, Sunni gunmen[9] stopped minibuses filled with Yazidis; 23 Yazidi men were forced from a bus and shot dead.

The Sinjar area which has a mixed population of Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs was scheduled to vote in a plebiscite on accession to the Kurdish region in December 2007. This caused hostility among the neighbouring Arab communities. A force of 600 Kurdish Peshmerga was subsequently deployed in the area, and ditches were dug around Yazidi villages to prevent further attacks.[10]

Details

The blasts targeted a religious minority, the Yazidi.[11][12] The co-ordinated bombings involved a fuel tanker and three cars. An Iraqi interior ministry spokesman said that two tons of explosives were used in the blasts, which crumbled buildings, trapping entire families beneath mud bricks and other wreckage as entire neighborhoods were flattened. Rescuers dug underneath the destroyed buildings by hand to search for remaining survivors.[13]

"Hospitals here are running out of medicine. The pharmacies are empty. We need food, medicine and water otherwise there will be an even greater catastrophe," said Abdul-Rahim al-Shimari, mayor of the Baaj district, which includes the devastated villages.[14]

Responsibility

The attacks carry Al-Qaeda's signature of multiple simultaneous attacks. No group claimed responsibility for the attack. "We're looking at Al-Qaeda as the prime suspect," said Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver, a United States military spokesman.[15] The group is reported to have distributed leaflets denouncing Yazidis as "anti-Islamic". Others, including Iraq's President, Jalal Talabani, blamed the bombings on "Iraqi Sunni Muslim Arab insurgents" seeking to undercut Premier Maliki's conclave to end political deadlock among the country's leaders.[16]

On September 3, 2007, the U.S. military reportedly killed the mastermind of the bombings, Abu Mohammed al-Afri.[17]

References

  1. ^ a b Reuters AlertNet - FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Jan 20
  2. ^ (August 16, 2007); attributed to Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Garver, a US military spokesman.The ScotsmanPaul Tait, Baghdad, "Al-Qaeda blamed for Yazidi carnage",
  3. ^ (August 21, 2007).New York TimesDamien Cave and James Glanz, "Toll in Iraq Truck Bombings Is Raised to More Than 500",
  4. ^ Arwa Damon, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Raja Razek, "Iraqi officials: Truck bombings killed at least 500," CNN.com
  5. ^ NPR: General Calls Attack on Yazidis 'Ethnic Cleansing'
  6. ^ BBC NEWS | Middle East | Minority targeted in Iraq bombings
  7. ^ Survivors of bombs left to die in rubble - Times Online
  8. ^ http://english.aljazeera.net/secretiraqfiles/2010/10/20101022161025428625.html
  9. ^ (August 15, 2007).New York TimesStephen Farell, "Death Toll in Iraq Bombings Rises to 250",
  10. ^ NPR: Yazidis Live Among Reminders of Deadly Attack
  11. ^ BBC NEWS | Middle East | Deadly Iraq sect attacks kill 200
  12. ^ Dozens killed in multiple suicide attacks in Iraq - CNN.com
  13. ^ Iraqi Interior Ministry: 400 killed in suicide bombings in northern Iraq - Israel News, Ynetnews
  14. ^ (Aug. 16, 2007.USA TodayAssociated Press, "Shiites, Kurds form alliance",
  15. ^ (August 16, 2007)The ScotsmanPaul Tait, Baghdad, "Al-Qaeda blamed for Yazidi carnage",
  16. ^ AlJazeera.net"Killings stoke tension in Iraq city",
  17. ^ AFP: Qaeda militant behind deadliest Iraq attack killed: US
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