16 Iraqis killed in morning bombings in Baghdad

Sixteen Iraqis were killed in a string of attacks in central Baghdad this morning. One of the attacks was carried out by a mentally handicapped female suicide bomber; another destroyed a bus carrying female employees working for the Iraqi Trade Ministry.

The first bombing took place at 7:20 AM local time in the Karadah district of eastern Baghdad, according to Multinational Forces Iraq. Voices of Iraq put the attack in the neighboring New Baghdad district.

A “sticky bomb,” a magnetic bomb placed underneath cars, detonated on a bus carrying female employees working for the Iraqi Trade Ministry. Fourteen civilians, mostly women, were killed and another four were wounded in the attack.

It is unclear whether the attack was carried out by the Iranian-backed Special Groups or al Qaeda in Iraq. The location of the bus bombing is in a largely Shia area in eastern Baghdad once teeming with the Mahdi Army.

“It is too early to tell who was responsible for the bus bombing,” said Lieutenant Colonel Steve Stover, spokesman, for Multinational Division Baghdad told The Long War Journal in an e-mail. “Underbelly IEDS are a tactic being used by both AQI [al Qaeda in Iraq] and SGC [Special Groups Criminals].”

The second attack took place just at a gate outside the International Zone in the Karkh district of central Baghdad more than an hour later at 8:30 AM, the US military said. “The attack began when a female bomber approached the checkpoint on foot and was directed by checkpoint personnel to cross the street away from the checkpoint. The individual failed to comply,” Stover said. “As an IP [Iraqi Police] vehicle pulled up behind her to force her to move across the street, she detonated the suicide vest killing herself and an IA [Iraqi Army] soldier.”

The female that carried out the bombing outside the International Zone was mentally handicapped, according to Iraqi officials.

“A mentally-retarded female suicide bomber was detonated by means of remote control near a checkpoint at the entrance of the green zone,” Major General Qassem Atta, the official spokesman for the Baghdad Operations Command told Voices of Iraq. Atta said three Iraqis were killed and 12 were wounded.

Atta also said the attack was aimed at Iraq’s intelligence agency.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has used mentally handicapped females in suicide attacks in numerous bombings throughout Iraq in 2007 and 2008.

The third bombing took place at 10:50 AM in the Wahda neighborhood, which is on the southern border of New Baghdad. One civilian was killed in the roadside bombing and one policeman and another civilian were wounded.

While the violence in Baghdad has decreased dramatically since 2007 — some 80 to 90 percent by some estimates — November has seen an increase in bombings. The effectiveness, however, of the attacks has decreased. Last year, al Qaeda suicide bombings often resulted in scores killed and hundreds wounded per attack.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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