Female suicide bombers kill 70 Iraqis (Iraq)

Al Qaeda in Iraq conducted two successful strikes in Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk. At least seventy Iraqi civilians were killed and more than 300 wounded in four suicide attacks, CNN reported. The attacks were carried out by female terrorists.

The attacks in Baghdad occurred in three separate locations as the female bombers targeted Shia pilgrims traveling on foot to a shrine in the Kadhamiyah district. The three bombers waded into the crowds and detonated their suicide vests within thirty minutes of each other. Thirty-two Iraqis were reported killed and 102 were wounded.

In Kirkuk, a female suicide bomber detonated her vest in the middle of a crowd of more than 5,000 Kurds who gathered to protest the delay of provincial elections in Kirkuk. Just after the detonation, gunmen opened up on the crowd. Thirty-eight Iraqis were killed and 178 were wounded in the deadly attack. Five more were wounded after a clash broke out between “unknown gunmen” and security forces outside the headquarters of the Turkmen Party. A curfew was immediately imposed on the province.

Kirkuk remains a flashpoint for violence as Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen vie for political power in the northern city. The Kurds seek to bring the oil-rich city into the political sphere of the Kurdistan Regional Government while Kurds have retaken lands from Arabs settled in the region during the rule of Saddam Hussein. Last week, the Iraqi Parliament passed a law delaying provincial elections and setting up a power-sharing agreement between the parties. The Kurdish political parties walked out of Parliament in protest.

Today’s attacks demonstrate that while al Qaeda has suffered major setbacks in Iraq, the network still maintains the capacity to conduct high-profile, mass-casualty suicide strikes. The last major attack occurred on July 24, when a female suicide bomber killed eight Awakening fighters and wounded 15 during an attack in Baqubah.

Al Qaeda suicide bombers also struck in Diyala province on July 15. Two suicide bombers detonated their vests within the Saad military camp as Iraqi Army recruits gathered. Twenty-two recruits were killed and more than 55 wounded.

The last major bombing in Baghdad occurred on June 18, when a car bomb detonated in the Shia neighborhood of Hayy Hurriyah in Baghdad’s Kadhamiyah district. The US military determined the attack was carried out by cell run by a Mahdi Army leader named Haydar Mahdi Khadum Al Fawadi.

US, Iraqi forces target al Qaeda’s networks

The US and Iraqi military have heavily targeted al Qaeda networks in the central and northern provinces over the past two days. Eighty-eight al Qaeda operatives were captured and four were killed during operations.

Today, Coalition special forces captured 30 suspected al Qaeda fighters during raids in Abu Ghraib and Mosul. An al Qaeda cell leader and a bomb maker were captured in Abu Ghraib and a financier for Ninewa province was captured in Mosul. Also, Coalition forces surrounded “a hideout for AQI facilitators and smugglers coming in from Syria” in a village southwest of Mosul, and captured 15 terrorists.

Yesterday, US and Iraqi forces killed four al Qaeda fighters and detained 58 suspects during search operation in Ninewa province. Four Iraqi soldiers were killed during gun battle.

Iraqi and US forces are massing for a major offensive in Diyala province, where al Qaeda still maintains sanctuaries in the rural regions. The operation is expected to begin in early August.

Iraqi insurgents use eight-year-old girl as suicide bomber

An eight-year-old girl was strapped with remote-controlled explosives and used as a human bomb by Iraqi insurgents in a blast that killed an Iraqi commander earlier today.

An Iraqi captain was killed and seven other soldiers were injured in the explosion which took place in the town of Youssifiyah, south of Baghdad.

The explosives were detonated as the girl approached the Iraqi commander.

A curfew has now been imposed in the area, and American troops are said to be hunting for those responsible.

Iraqi soldiers inspect the site of a separate car bomb attack that targeted Abdul Karim al-Samarai, a member of Sunni Islamic political party in Baghdad’s Yarmouk district today

“I can confirm that a female suicide bomber attacked an Iraqi Army position,” said a U.S Army spokesman.

Involving women in fighting violates religious taboos in Iraq, but extremists are recruiting females and youths to stage suicide attacks in a desperate attempt to beat tightened security measures.

Women can avoid thorough searches at checkpoints because of Islamic sensitivities, and four have carried out suicide bombings since November.

In February, Iraqi insurgents used two women with Downs Syndrome as human bombs in a blast that killed 99 people in Baghdad.

The women apparently fooled into wearing explosive vests which were then detonated remotely by mobile phones as they mingled with crowds.

It is unclear whether this latest blast used the same method for detonating the bomb.

Source

Double Iraq suicide blast kills 30 in wedding attack

May 1, 2008

A double suicide attack struck a wedding convoy north-east of Baghdad today killing at least 30 and injuring 65.

Police said the attacks occurred in the busy market town of Balad Ruz in the restive Diyala province. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the attack bore hallmarks associated with al Qaeda in Iraq.

A second bomber was said to have struck as crowds rushed to evacuate the wounded from the first attack, a common tactic used to maximise casualties.

The bombers detonated their explosive vests within minutes of each other according to Major General Abdel Karim al-Rubaie, head of the provincial military command.

“The first bomber blew himself up amid a crowd of people. Minutes later another bomber blew himself up as people were trying to rescue the victims of the first attack,” Mr Rubaie said.

He said the attack took place at around 7pm (1600 GMT) in a street known to sell wedding dresses and gifts.

Suicide bombings are a tactic mainly employed in Iraq by Sunni Arab militant groups such as al Qaeda.

Iraq has seen a jump in violence over the past month, mainly involving clashes pitting Shi’ite militias against US and government troops in Baghdad and the south. But al-Qaeda has also struck with a number of large suicide bombings in the north.

Iraqi government figures show April was the deadliest month for civilians since August last year.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3857590.ece