Sharp Increase in Violence in Iraq

By Emily Schneider
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Sunday marked the deadliest day in Iraq in nearly a month with a number of bombings that killed at least thirty-two people and wounded approximately one hundred.  The insurgents seem to be targeting Iraq’s Shiite Muslim community.

Residents inspect the rubble at the site of a bomb attack in the town of Taji. (Photo courtesy of Rueters)

Baghdad’s Shiite-majority government blames the recent attacks on Sunni insurgents with ties to al Qaeda.  A local news source noted that insurgents are have recently been regarded as weaker than before by the public but are still able to carry out mass-casualty attacks.  Twenty people were killed in the seven explosions in and around Baghdad, while at least thirty-seven others were wounded in explosions in al-Mashada and al-Amel, neighborhoods closer to the city center.

“I was in my shop and I heard the sound of a very powerful explosion,” said Abu Ihab, a shop owner in central Baghdad’s Karada district. “Dust was everywhere.”

“We were sitting in the shop while police were collecting flesh,” he said. “Human flesh was on the sidewalk, being collected and put in plastic bags.”

“When the explosion happens…I sit in my shop and I am afraid for my life,” Ihab told reporters.

Abu Ihab had good reason to be afraid, as the blast was followed by another car bomb that hit the same area.

Later in the day, a Shiite shrine in al-Madaan, about 20 kilometers southeast of Baghdad, was the target of a car bomb. Four people were killed by the blast, and nineteen others were wounded. Four of the wounded were Iranians who had traveled to the shrine on a religious pilgrimage from Iran.

In Kut, a predominately Shiite city about 110 kilometers south of Baghdad, a car exploded at a police checkpoint, killing six people. Three of those killed were members of the Iraqi police.

These explosions demonstrate a marked increase in violence after a relatively calm period. The last outburst of violence occurred on September 9, when 63 people were killed and around 200 wounded. Most of those victims were Iraqi security forces and took place in Shiite areas.

Infighting among Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds has been common in Iraq, and was particularly terrible in 2006. Although the level of violence has generally been on the wane since the war in 2005 and 2006, recent months show that the violence is escalating again. This past July, the death toll reached a two-year high of 325 reported casualties.

The recent events have raised concerns that the political conflict will continue to escalate and return to the high level of violence that plagued the country a half-dozen years ago.

For further information, please see:

Al Jazeera – Many Killed in String of Iraq Attacks – 30 September 2012

CNN – Iraq Suffers Deadliest Day in Nearly a Month – 30 September 2012

Khaleej Times – Wave of Iraq Attacks Kills At Least 32 – 30 September 2012

Rueters – String of Iraq Blasts Kills at Least 32 – 30 September 2012

Author: Impunity Watch Archive