45 Iraqis killed in dual suicide attacks

Suicide bombers struck inside Iraq for the third day straight, killing 45 Shia pilgrims and wounding more than 150 as they marched from Baghdad to Karbala today.

The suicide bombers detonated cars packed with explosives at separate checkpoints outside the city of Karbala. “Two cars parked outside the checkpoints to the city exploded at the same time,” Mohammed al Moussawi, the chief of Karbala’s provincial council, told Reuters.

The attacks targeted Shia pilgrims commemorating the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed. The hundreds of thousands of Shia who march from Baghdad to Karbala have been prime targets of al Qaeda in Iraq in the past. In previous years, al Qaeda suicide and roadside bomb attacks have killed hundreds of Shia pilgrims on their way to Karbala.

Al Qaeda also carried out two other bombings that targeted Shia today. One Iraqi was killed and 10 more were wounded in an IED attack in southern Baghdad, and another Iraqi was killed and 10 more were wounded in an IED attack in Baqubah.

Al Qaeda in Iraq continues its campaign to strike at Iraq’s security forces and Iraqi Shia in an effort to weaken the government and divide Iraqis along sectarian lines. The terror group carried out three other suicide strikes over the past two days. Yesterday, a pair of suicide bombers killed 15 Iraqis in strikes that targeted a police station and Shia pilgrims in the northeastern province of Diyala. On Jan. 18, a suicide bomber killed 52 police recruits and wounded scores more in an attack at a recruiting station in Tikrit in Salahadin province.

Background on the state of al Qaeda in Iraq

Al Qaeda in Iraq has suffered significant blows to its leadership at the hands of the Iraqi security forces in the past year [see LWJ report, Al Qaeda in Iraq is ‘broken,’ cut off from leaders in Pakistan, says top US general, for a list of senior leaders killed and captured up until June 2010]. But while unable to hold territory, the terror group has been able to reorganize and launch high-profile terror attacks against the Iraqi security forces and government institutions. The attacks have been less frequent over the past two years, however, and have failed to threaten the Iraqi state.

The recent attacks are being directed by Nasser al Din Allah Abu Suleiman, al Qaeda’s new ‘war minister’ for Iraq. Suleiman was appointed in May 2010 after his predecessor, Abu Ayyub al Masri, was killed in a US raid along with Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq. Also in May 2010, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi al Hussieni al Qurshi was named the new emir of the Islamic State of Iraq, and Abu Abdullah al Hussieni al Qurshi was named the deputy emir. [For more information on the identities of al Qaeda’s top two leaders, see LWJ report, Al Qaeda in Iraq’s security minister captured in Anbar.]

Al Qaeda in Iraq is supported primarily through its networks in eastern Syria. The al Qaeda ratlines, which move foreign fighters, money, and weapons, pass from eastern Syria through the northwestern Iraqi cities of Sinjar and Rabiah into Mosul.

In 2009, al Qaeda’s central leadership based in Pakistan reportedly sent a senior ideologue to Syria to partner with a dangerous operative who ran the network that funnels foreign fighters, cash, and weapons into western Iraq. Sheikh Issa al Masri is thought to have left Pakistan’s tribal agency of North Waziristan and entered Syria in June 2009, where he paired up with Abu Khalaf, a senior al Qaeda operative who had been instrumental in reviving al Qaeda in Iraq’s network in eastern Syria and directing terror operations in Iraq, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal.

Although the US killed Abu Khalaf during a Jan. 22, 2010 raid in the northern city of Mosul, Sheikh Issa is alive and is believed to be based in Damascus and is protected by the Mukhabarat, Syria’s secret intelligence service.

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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2 Comments

  • Villiger says:

    I was anti-war until i discovered Pakistan.

  • CKIGAB says:

    I DON’T GET IT, TIME AND TIME AFTER AGAIN, this keeps happening.
    “Two cars parked outside the checkpoints to the city exploded at the same time”
    new law, no cars can park near check point. how hard is that?
    “pair of suicide bombers killed 15 Iraqis in strikes that targeted a police station”
    put guards at walk in police stations points. build cement walls around all police stations, & check every signal person.
    put cameras at the check points, showing the guards checking them. have cameras in & outside the police station, showing who blew them self up, then look at the video tapes to see who let him past.
    “On Jan. 18, a suicide bomber killed 52 police recruits and wounded scores more in an attack at a recruiting station in Tikrit”
    for god sake, put up cement walls all they way around recruiting places, & have sniffer dogs at walk in check points. also put cameras at the check points, showing the guards checking them. have cameras in & outside the recruiting places, showing who blew them self up, then look at the video tapes to see who let him past. death sentence.
    clearly they all gather inside or out in the court yard / so on. he can not kill 10 or 100 men at or in, a 20 meter cement walk way, where guards will check them.
    pointless attacks that will kill 2 people at most, instead of 10 to 100 people.
    even take it a steep better, at placed where there are more them 20 people gathered, build a 20 meter walk way, & 15 meters before the guards, have a sniffer dog in a cage, smelling everyone walking in the start of the walk way. this way the dog would bark, & the cops would say stop, 10 to 15 meters to them, if not, shot him. 0 dead. waist of time attacking them targets now.
    just like massive truck bombings at government check points, because check point guard are letting them past, to stage massive deadly attack. you do this.
    only on roads that go past government buildings or the market or courts & so on. build 2.2 meter high check points.
    this way check point cops could not let them massive truck bombs past, even if they got paid to. they will not fit under a 2.2 meter high check point, only cars will.
    all trucks must turn off taking a different road, to get to where they want to go. just not past them government buildings / targets.
    now know more massive truck bomb attacks.
    all they have to do now is put cameras at the check points, showing the check point cops, looking at the cars, & if one get past & blows up, look at the cameras at the government building showing what car blew up, then check the check point cameras, showing who let that car past knowing. death sentence.
    the check points around the government building or so on, can even send the camera video to the building by live feed / signal.
    they could even get America to make cameras, that, if a laser is shined in them to block the footage, & alarm will go of. a component could teal if the camera has been blinded. that’s because it does not see anything, nor a duly light, it now is showing a very bright light, alarm goes off. that can be dun real easy, & ether way, you would just see what check point camera got blinded, & that’s who let them past.
    if the camera gets blinded, a alarm will go off at the building & at the check point, where everyone near by, would look at and here the alarm.
    now you would see a 98% drop, in all them attacks.
    same goes for at the markets, walk in 20 meter check points to enter, where a sniffer dogs it at the start. the walk in check point cops, will here the dog bark, way before they could get to the check point cops to kill them.
    all car checks have the above.
    you will now see a end to attacks at government buildings & at markets and so on, and would see suicide bombings kill next to no police or people.
    a 98% drop in deaths & attacks real fast. only thing left for the terrorist, IED bombs.
    Iraq would become very stable to what it is now.
    America has been told to put up 2.2 meter high check points around government buildings, before them massive truck bomb attacks happened a long time ago & to the last one that took place.
    clearly they do not want Iraq to be a very safe place. they want Iraq to stay a little bit unstable.
    for 1 billion dollars, they could put cameras up like i have said, at all them places easy.
    for 1 billion dollars they could build 10,000 2.2 meter high check points for all them places, along with cement walls around them places.
    no more then a one off $5 billion dollars, out of the 500 billion already been spent, they could stop 98% of the attacks left today.
    it would be IED bombs only.
    Iraq would be a much safer place.

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