More than 100 people were killed Thursday in a series of attacks around Iraq that included two suicide bombings that struck crowded markets during the week's busiest shopping hours, the authorities said.
The attacks extended an extraordinary surge of sectarian violence in Iraq this week, including a series of bombings and reprisals in the northern city of Tal Afar in which more than 140 people were killed in two days.
On Thursday, officials said 18 police officers in Tal Afar suspected of participating in the massacre of Sunni Arab residents in reprisal for the bombing of a Shiite neighborhood had been freed after being detained for only a few hours.
At a time when the Shiite-dominated central government has been under intense pressure to rein in Shiite militias and death squads, the releases are sure to bring even more outrage from Sunni Arabs.
The above is from Kirk Semple's "More Than 100 Are Killed in Iraq as a Wave of Sectarian Attacks Shows No Sign of Letting Up" in this morning's New York Times. The 18 were released? Does the whole thing not recall the response to Sabrine's rape in February? From Semple's article we learn that the puppet of the occupation made his usual noises while the world was watching ("immediately ordered an investigation") and then, after the accusded were "held only briefly," the whole matter is to be forgotten. If a victim or eye witness comes forward, no doubt Nouri al-Maliki will go out of his way to attack and smear him/her the way he did Sabrine. Now he could get away with that nonsense when it was Sabrine because the mainstream press has shown little interest in covering the rapes in Iraq (McClatchy Newspapers was the only one to take the single page from a medical report supposedly on Sabrine to rape experts who all agreed that the page he was putting forth as proof that she wasn't raped indicated that she had been). But apparently the puppet or the White House realized this would be a little harder to get away with. Reuters is reporting: "Police in the nearby city of Mosul said the 18 policemen had been re-arrested. It was unclear where they were being held."
Martha notes Joshua Partlow's "More Than 100 Killed in Baghdad, Nearby Town" (Washington Post):
The bombing in Shaab, which police said killed at least 60 people, took aim at the six-week-old Baghdad security plan, under which U.S. and Iraqi officials have sought to protect public marketplaces from such catastrophic attacks.
The area is patrolled by the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, the first additional U.S. brigade to arrive in the capital as part of the security effort. The neighborhood was part of an initial security sweep by thousands of American troops at the start of the plan in mid-February.
But Thursday evening, as shoppers stocked up on supplies before the weekend, at least one suicide bomber sneaked into the area and detonated explosives amid the bustling crowd of the Shalal market. Area residents said the market is barricaded on both ends to prevent vehicles from entering, but the attacker walked in wearing an explosives belt, police said. Soldiers from the brigade rushed to the warren of stalls to assist in recovery, U.S. military officials said.
Partlow notes that the Baghdad bombing's death toll has risen to 75. Meanwhile the US military announced today: "While conducting a combat security patrol, a MND-B Soldier died and another was wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near the Soldiers in a southern section of the Iraqi capital March 29."
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