A deadly car bomb was detonated in a fractious northern Iraqi city and hit its commercial area, killing at least 10 people. Located 225 miles north of Baghdad, Mosul has been the site of multiple suicide car bombs that have targeted Iraqi and American forces over the past few years.
Today’s attack was aimed at a joint Iraqi Army and police patrol that was passing through a busy commercial zone of the city. The explosives-laden car blew up and killed five Iraqi civilians and five security personnel. According to police officials, at least another 12 people were wounded in the incident. Medical professionals attending to the wounded confirmed the numbers. Both security and medical officials spoke on the condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to release information.
Hours earlier, another car bombing in the another city in north Iraq killed six people. In this instance, a suicide bomber rammed his car into a security checkpoint in the town of Dibis. Besides the six dead, another 15 were seriously injured. According to Police Chief Col. Bestoon Rashid, some civilians were killed and wounded in the attack but the actual breakdown of casualties was not yet available. Dibis is located 180 miles north of Baghdad and is close to the city of Kirkuk.
As the authorities investigate the separate bombings, no group or individual has come forward to claim responsibility. There has been escalating violence in Iraq over the past few years and the present attacks bear the hallmarks of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), a breakaway group connected to al Qa’ida that has been operating in Iraq. This group is known for their carefully-planned and well-executed attacks.
According to figures released by the United Nations (UN), more than 8,800 Iraqis died in 2013, because of different forms of violence including deadly car bombings like the ones that hit the two northern cities of the country. Sectarian violence has seen an upsurge because Sunni insurgent groups have mounted attacks all across Iraq in a bid to destabilize the Shiite-led government.
The Brookings Institute states that this uptick in violence began after the exodus of the last American troops from Iraq in 2011. According to them, once the American security forces left the country, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki dealt with many Sunni leaders in a manner that raised the hackles of an already-distrustful Sunni Arab community. In response to this, the Sunni Arab population turned to various insurgent groups such as the al-Qa’ida, the Jaysh al-Islam, the 1920 Revolution Brigade, and the Ansar al-Sunnah groups, among others, for support. These groups retaliated against the Shiite population with horrific attacks that led the Shiite-led government to take stringent measures against the Sunnis. These retaliatory acts have since turned into a vicious and continuous circle of vengeful violence.
The Sunday attacks happened just weeks before Iraq’s parliamentary elections where are scheduled to be held on Apr. 30. These national elections are extremely important for the stability and progress of Iraq. While Maliki and his party are assumed to win a majority of seats in the next parliament, it is important to note that not all of Iraq is going to the polls. There will be no elections in some parts of the Anbar province of Iraq, where security forces are engaged in a daily battle with Islamic militants, who are using well-planned violent hits and deadly car bombs to create chaos and terror. These insurgent groups control Ramadi, the provincial capital of the Anbar province and almost all of Fallujah that is located nearby, thereby leading to their exclusion from the national elections.
By Monalisa Gangopadhyay