Thursday, September 10, 2009

Iraq bombing kills at least 20

A suicide truck bomb exploded in a Kurdish village outside the volatile city of Mosul in northern Iraq early Thursday, leaving at least 19 people dead, Iraqi authorities said.
A Ministry of Interior official said the attack occurred after midnight and numerous homes were destroyed in Wardek village, about 250 miles north of Baghdad.
The Mosul area is one of the remaining insurgent strongholds in Iraq, and the region is also tense because of territorial disputes between Sunni Arabs and Kurds living there.

The above is the opening to Gina Chon's "Truck Bomb Kills at Least 19 in Iraq" (Wall St. Journal) on today's violence. Al Jazeera has the death toll rising to "at least 20" and Jamal al-Badrani, Sherko Raouf, Tim Cocks and Louise Ireland (Reuters) report that "25 houses in the village were damaged or destroyed" and note some of the ethnic make up of the region ("ethnic Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen") (Assyrian Christians are also a significant presence and one that has increased -- even with the exodus -- due to the region being seen as safer for Iraq Christians than other areas).

In addition, Reuters reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded eight people (two are police officers), 2 Mahmudiya roadside bombing which claimed 4 lives and left twenty-nine injured and, dropping back to yesterday, 2 Mosul shootings (one claimed the life of 1 civilian, the other left an Iraqi police officer injured and the police responded shooting dead two of the assailants).

Turning to other conflicts, Iraq and Syria have been in conflict as Nouri al-Maliki's made one charge after another following August 19th's Baghdad bombings and demanding that Syria turn over two people to Iraq (Syria says there is no credible evidence of the two's involvement in the bombings). Yesterday at the Arab League meeting, the issue led to charges and counter-charges. But Xinhua reports:

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Wednesday that he reached an agreement with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari to stop media campaigns between Syria and Iraq, speed up returning ambassadors and form security committees.
Al-Moallem told a joint press conference with Arab League (AL) Secretary General Amr Moussa in Arab League headquarters that he reached this agreement during a quadrilateral meeting included Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Moussa.

The Press Trust of India adds Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa mediated the media and that he stated, "The league will maintain its good offices in coordination with all parties concerned, mainly the Turkish mediation, in order to contain this crisis." Bashar al Assa, president of Syria, will meet with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, next week and the issue is expected to be addressed then. There are also rumors that Jalal Talabani, president of Iraq, will travel to Ankara for the meeting as well.

Meanwhile Catholic News Agency reports that Father Shlemon Warduni, Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad, is stating the 2010 elections in Iraq have Iraqi Christians fearful of even more violence and noted of Zakho and Amadhiya, "The lack of work is noticeable and is made worse by the fact that many lands have been occupied by people who have come from other areas in search of refuge. The streets are not secure and neither are they in good condition, thus making it difficult for the people who need to find work or to transport the infirm to move about."

Ned Parker and Usama Redha (Los Angeles Times) attempt to make sense of the shooting deaths of Iraqis by US and Iraqi forces yeterday during a Baghdad raid:

The U.S. military said the Iraqi security unit, which was not identified, came under fire and shot back in self-defense.
Relatives and neighbors said troops set off explosives that knocked down the gates and doors to a home, where they detained an Iraqi military intelligence officer and killed two civilians. Their bodies were discovered with dog bites and gunshot wounds on a kitchen floor, which was streaked with blood, the witnesses said.

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