Iraq Attacks Are Escalating

21 May 2009

In Iraq, at least 25 people have been killed in three separate attacks. The recent upsurge in violence has many Iraqis worried.

Khaleel Mahood mourns over his brother's body after he was killed in a suicide bombing in Kirkuk, Iraq, 21 May 2009
Khaleel Mahood mourns over his brother's body after he was killed in a suicide bombing in Kirkuk, Iraq, 21 May 2009
In the first attack of an extremely bloody day, a suicide-bomber targeted a group of U.S.-allied Sunni Awakening Council militiamen in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

One Sahwa member explains what happened.

He says that he and other members of the Awakening council were gathered at the group's headquarters, waiting to receive their salaries. As they were gathering, he adds, an explosion took place.

A second explosion in Baghdad's Dora district, targeted a U.S. military foot patrol, killing at least 12 civilians and wounding another 25 near a crowded market.

Eyewitnesses say a third explosion killed at least two police officers in Baghdad's Mansour district, when a bomb exploded in a trash bin. Several policemen were also wounded.

Thursday's explosions come less than six weeks before U.S. troops are scheduled to withdraw from Iraqi cities and towns, in accordance with a U.S.-Iraqi military pact signed last November.

The recent upsurge in violence has many Iraqis worried a new wave of sectarian violence could befall the country just as U.S. troops are set to begin their pullback.

An extremely vicious car bombing Wednesday, targeting the Shi'ite neighborhood of Shula, left 40 people dead. A Shi'ite relative of one of the victims comments.

He says "[the bombing] is unacceptable. What do the terrorists want from us? With God's help and that of [Imam] Ali, we will prevail."

Baghdad University Professor Sa'ad al Hadithy warns the worsening security situation could overcome Iraq.

He says the past 24 hours in Baghdad were extremely bloody and there were dozens of casualties. He stresses that this is an indicator of what he calls a 'security vacuum' just as U.S. troops are beginning their gradual pullback from Iraqi cities.

Hadithy says despite assurances from the Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi security forces are not prepared to take control from U.S. troops on June 30.

Hadithy insists that Iraqi security forces are still incapable of fulfilling security requirements to be able to face the numerous armed factions without direct and effective U.S. assistance. These Iraqi forces, he stresses, which were put together chaotically and without being technically proficient are ill-prepared to confront current dangers. He says they are incompetent, badly armed, and physically unready. What is needed now, he says, is a complete review of the structure and formation of the security forces.

The latest wave of violence follows an extremely bloody month of April, when terrorists targeted predominantly Shi'ite districts in an apparent bid to stoke a new round of Sunni-Shi'ite violence.