Saturday, November 25, 2006


Retaliation violence spirals out of control

Revenge-seeking militiamen seized six Sunnis as they left Friday prayers and burned them alive with kerosene in a savage new twist to the brutality shaking the Iraqi capital a day after suspected Sunni insurgents killed 215 people in Baghdad's main Shiite district. Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in Friday's assault by suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia or subsequent attacks that killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children, in the same neighborhood, the volatile Hurriyah district in northwest Baghdad, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.
But burning victims alive introduced a new method of brutality that was likely to be reciprocated by the other sect as the Shiites and Sunnis continue killing one another in unprecedented numbers. The gruesome attack, which came despite a curfew in Baghdad, capped a day in which at least 87 people were killed or found dead in sectarian violence across Iraq. A source from Baghdad’s Kindi Hospital stated that up to 500 people may have been killed in the bombings and the following violence Thursday and that there are still corpses on the streets in many parts of the capital.
In Hurriyah, the rampaging militiamen also burned and blew up four mosques and torched several homes in the district, Hussein said. Residents of the troubled district claim the Mahdi Army has begun kidnapping and holding Sunni hostages to use in ritual slaughter at the funerals of Shiite victims of Baghdad's raging sectarian war. President Jalal Talabani emerged from lengthy meetings with other Iraqi leaders late Friday and said the defense minister, Abdul-Qader al-Obaidi, indicated that the Hurriyah neighborhood had been quiet throughout the day.
But Imad al-Hasimi, a Sunni elder in Hurriyah, confirmed Hussein's account of the immolations. He told Al-Arabiya television he saw people who were drenched in kerosene and then set afire, burning to death before his eyes. Two workers at Kazamiyah Hospital also confirmed that bodies from the clashes and immolation had been taken to the morgue at their facility. They refused to be identified by name, saying they feared retribution.
Also, militia gunmen raided a Sunni mosque in the Amil section of west Baghdad, killing two guards, according to police 1st Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq. The few remaining Sunni families in Amil woke up to find signs painted on their doors saying, "All Sunnis should leave. This is a final warning," and "The house should not be leased or sold." Some posters on Iraqi message boards are warning that militiamen in Sadr City are preparing for a wide-scale assault on several Sunni districts, similar to the one that followed the February shrine bombing, as soon as the curfew is lifted.
And in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, Sunni insurgents blew up the dome of the important Shiite mosque of leading cleric Abdul-Karm al-Madani. Gunmen have overnight raided two homes in a mostly Shiite village in strife-torn Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, dragged out 21 males and shot them execution style. The youngest victim was 12. Police said the gunmen arrived in five cars late Friday and took the men to nearby fields and executed them. Like Baghdad, the mixed Diyala province is torn by sectarian strife, largely taking the form of attacks by Al-Qaeda affiliated insurgents on Shiite villagers. Attacks against several Sunni mosques were also reported from Basrah and Zubair. Both the headquarters of the Association of Muslim Scholars and the Islamic Party in Basrah were targeted with rocket-propelled grenades.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?