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Thursday, November 23, 2006

The big payback

Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP -- Getty Images

Three car bomb attackers blew up their vehicles
one after another, at 15 minute intervals, in
Baghdad's Sadr City.

At Least 145 Killed in Deadliest Attack Since Start of Iraq War

Published: November 23, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- In the deadliest attack on a sectarian enclave since the beginning of the Iraq war, suspected Sunni-Arab militants used three suicide car bombs and two mortar rounds on the capital's Shiite Sadr City slum to kill at least 150 people and wound 238 on Thursday, police said.

The Shiites responded almost immediately, firing 10 mortar rounds at the Abu Hanifa Sunni mosque in Azamiya, killing one person and wounding 14 people in an attack on the holiest Sunni shrine in Baghdad.

Beginning at 3:10 p.m., the three car bomb attackers in Sadr City blew up their vehicles one after another, at 15 minute intervals, hitting Jamila market, al-Hay market and al-Shahidein Square. At about the same time, two mortar rounds struck al-Shahidein Square and Mudhaffar Square, police said.

Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told state-run Iraqiyah television that other than the vehicles that exploded, one car was captured and three were still on the run. He gave the license plate numbers of each car, asking residents in Sadr City to inform police if they saw them.

As the three fiery explosions sent up huge plumes of black smoke up over northeastern Baghdad, and left streets covered with burning bodies and blood, angry residents and armed Shiite militiamen flooded the streets, hurling curses at Sunni Muslims and firing weapons into the air.

Sadr City is the home of the Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Ambulances raced to burning wooden fruit and vegetables stalls in Jamila market to rescue dozens of wounded people. Rescue workers also removed burned bodies from mangled cars and minibuses and took them away on wheeled carts. But many other corpses of adults and children remained in the streets.

Shortly after the attack, Mahdi Army militiamen deployed around the area, setting up checkpoints and roadblocks in the area to keep all strangers away.

The government imposed a curfew on Baghdad beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday, saying that all people and vehicles must stay off the streets of the city until further notice.

In addition, top government officials held an emergency meeting at the home of Shiite leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim that also was attended by Kurdish President Jalal Talabani, Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi and U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, an aide to al-Hakim said. The officials were believed to be discussing the deteriorating security situation in Iraq.

The coordinated attack was the deadliest in Iraq since the U.S.-led war began in March 2003.

Two things: the resistance is getting back at the Sadrists for their little raid at the higher education ministry, most of the kidnap victims surely are dead.

The second, they picked a day where US patrols would be curtailed and US troops hunkered down for their national holiday. Why?

Because they know this will dominate the US news today.

posted by Steve @ 11:17:00 AM

11:17:00 AM

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