Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Iraq slammed with bombings -- people trapped in Mosul?

Iraq is once again slammed with bombings today.   Wang Yuanyuan (Xinhua) offers, "The deadliest attack occurred in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, when four car bombs killed a total of nine people and wounded some 32 others, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity." Al Rafidayn also calls that the deadliest attack of the day.  When the press is ranking the day's attacks, you know it's a day of deadly violence and Deutsche Welle adds, "The violence comes a day before Muharram, the Islamic new year."

Jane Arraf (Al Jazeera) reports, "In Kirkuk, a city disputed between Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, there were at least three car bombs: one against the offices of a major Kurdish party, one targeted a Turkmen party office, and another that hit a major road.  That was in addition to car bombs in the city of Hilla, a Shia town.  And one here in Baghdad that targted an army general [General Qassim Nouri].  All in all, these seem to be the major targets that have been frequent targets of violence: security forces, Shia and, increasingly, political parties in Kirkuk."  All Iraq News says 9 people were killed and thirty-eight were injured.  Alsumaria notes that an assassination attempt took place in Kirkuk with a bombing targeting the Governor of Diyala Omar Humairi as he was entering Kirkuk Province from the south.  He was not harmed and security forces swarmed the area.  On the Baghdad bombing, Alsumaria reports it was outside the Ishtar Sheraton Hotel in Firdos Square and, in addition to claiming 1 life, and left four other people injured (Mohammed Twafeeq reports on the hotel bombing for CNN),  a bombing in Wasit Province, just north of Kut, near a restaurant claimed 3 lives and left fifteen injured. while a mortar attack near a Falluja gravel plant left three workers injured.  BBC News offers a photo essay of the Kirkuk and Baghdad bombings here.  AFP has a photo essay here.

On the Hilla bombing, Reuters quotes city official Hamza Kadhim stating, "A car bomb exploded near a secondary school for girls and a crowded poultry market, leaving four dead, including innocent students.  It's a real vicious terrorist act."  Press TV adds eleven female students were left injured in the attack.  All Iraq News reports the bombing left over 12 dead and over sixty injured. 

These and other events are disturbing but a highly disturbing event is not being covered yet by the US press.  All Iraq News, citing a security source, reports a Mosul bombing injured a military officer and this took place at the University of Mosul where, here's the disturbing part, security forces closed all doors to bar students and faculty from leaving a campus they thought under attack.  All Iraq News updates the story to note the officer held the rank of Captain and was evacuated to the hospital before the security forces began closing the doors (and trapping students and faculty on a campus with bombs).   In addition, two other bombs were found inside the university (they were disarmed), one at the entrance to the Faculty of Science officeAll Iraq News notes that another Mosul bomb - a roadside one this time -- targeted a military patrol and left seven people (five were soldiers) injured.

If the reports about the security forces actions at the University of Mosul are accurate, then there need to be firings and an investigation.  The first thing security should have done when bombs were suspected was evacuate the campus.  You do not trap people in or on a facility where you believe bombs may be.  At least two bombs were discovered, the reports say, so this isn't a hypothetical.  You do not trap people in a dangerous environment.  Did the security forces think they'd capture a suspect or two this way?  I don't know.  Even if they did, that doesn't justify locking down the facility and trapping people.  If the reports are true, the Mosul attack is the most disturbing because of the way the security forces allegedly responded. 

Is this new training or is this failed training? 

The Parliament and the Cabinet should be raising serious questions about these reports.   They should also keep in mind the way the Russian government was called out for the actions of the security forces in the Beslan school crisis of 2004.

Security forces first priority is security of those present.  As the reporting stands currently, there was a huge breakdown in Mosul and someone needs to explain that -- explain it didn't happen or explain how it happened.

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