Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

After Iraq Attacks, Calls for Militias Grow ; at Least 22 Iraqis Were Killed by Four Suicide Bombs Sunday, a Day after More Than 90 Died in an Attack

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

After Iraq Attacks, Calls for Militias Grow ; at Least 22 Iraqis Were Killed by Four Suicide Bombs Sunday, a Day after More Than 90 Died in an Attack

Article excerpt

A devastating blast south of Baghdad, the latest in a series of suicide attacks aimed at undermining Iraq's US-mentored political process, has raised the temperature between Sunni and Shiite political factions and revived dormant questions about the effectiveness of government security forces.

The attack Saturday evening, involving a tanker truck at a gas station near a Shiite mosque, killed more than 90 people and wounded more than 150 in Musayyib, a mixed Sunni-Shiite town 40 miles south of Baghdad. It was the deadliest attack since the elected government took power at the end of April.

And Sunday, four suicide car bombers in Baghdad attacked security patrols and offices of Iraq's electoral commission, killing at least 22 people. On Friday, there were at least seven suicide attacks throughout the country that killed some 30 people. This all came on the heels of last week's suicide bombing that took the lives of some 50 people, including more than two-dozen children.

Shiite parliamentarian Khudayr al-Khuzai called on the government Sunday to "bring back popular militias" to protect vulnerable Shiite communities. "The plans of the interior and defense ministries to impose security in Iraq have failed to stop the terrorists," he told the National Assembly.

The man believed to be responsible for Saturday's explosion apparently detonated himself next to the flammable tanker, triggering a huge blast that severely damaged several buildings as worshipers were headed to the mosque for sunset prayers. Town residents said they believed the truck's driver was an accomplice in the bombing.

An angry crowd blamed policemen for a security lapse, saying that trucks are supposed to be banned from entering Musayyib, which has witnessed several previous suicide attacks this year against Shiite targets. Some of the protesters called the police "agents" of the Sunni-led insurgency, which has attacked Shiite mosques, US troops, Iraqi security forces, and the government. …

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