Iraqis mourn 59 victims of Tuesday's attacks

People inspect a damaged vehicle following an explosion near the Green Zone in Baghdad, after the March 19th attacks that killed at least 59 people. [Sabah Arar/AFP]

People inspect a damaged vehicle following an explosion near the Green Zone in Baghdad, after the March 19th attacks that killed at least 59 people. [Sabah Arar/AFP]

  • COMMENT 74
  • Print this article
  • increase decrease

Rescuers and local residents could not pull Abu Mustafa and his family from their burning car in time.

Abu Mustafa, an agricultural employee, his wife -- an engineer -- and their two children, one of whom was an infant, were near a checkpoint Tuesday (March 19th) in the city of al-Hilla, Babil province, when the man driving in front of them blew up his booby-trapped car.

The family were on their way to visit relatives when they were burned alive inside their car. Rescuers and injured bystanders looked on helplessly, unable to save them, said family friend Haidar Nassy, 43, during the funeral service.

"Our only recourse is patience and solidarity with the security forces, taking precautions and being on the alert until this black storm moves away from our country," Nassy told Mawtani.

Attacks across Iraq on Tuesday killed at least 59 people -- including seven children -- and wounded at least 236, according to Col. Hikmat Mahmoud al-Masari, director of media and communications at the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

"About 80% of those attacks targeted unarmed civilians who were at the market, restaurants or in public areas, including a children's school," said al-Masari.

Al-Qaeda affiliate the "Islamic State of Iraq" claimed responsibility for the Tuesday wave of bombings, deeming them "revenge" attacks in a statement posted online on jihadist forums.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Col. Saad Maan said Wednesday that security forces started a large-scale investigation into the attacks.

"Security forces will not give up their responsibility and duty to fight terrorism and counter its aggression and bloodiness," he told Mawtani. "The fight against terror in Iraq will continue as long as there is an obscurantist, bloody and takfiri ideology that targets civil peace and social harmony."

"There will be a swift and painful reaction by security forces against the terrorist elements that were involved in these attacks in the coming days," he added.

According to al-Masari, a group of 39 army and police officers were suspended and are currently under investigation for failing to maintain security in the areas under their responsibility.

Attempt to incite strife

Lt. Gen. Hasan al-Baidhani, the Baghdad military operations deputy commander, told Mawtani he sees the bombings as a "clear" attempt "to incite crisis among Iraqis, and create sectarian strife".

"But, that will not happen, as the people have become aware that all Iraqis are victims of these bombings, and that al-Qaeda's objective is to make Iraqis kill each other," he said.

Al-Baidhani said army forces arrested on Tuesday 26 suspected al-Qaeda members in connection with the bombings, adding that these men had 33 explosive charges and 12 Katyusha rockets in their possession.

The army also killed a man wearing an explosives belt before he could detonate it in al-Harthiya area, central Baghdad, he said, and prevented five attacks using booby-trapped cars and six attacks employing explosive charges in al-Harthiya, Sabaa al-Bor, al-Husseiniya and al-Amel neighbourhoods.

The federal police announced on Wednesday that security forces arrested five individuals suspected of involvement in the attacks.

"A police force raided three residential building in Sabaa al-Bor and al-Taji this morning, arresting five suspects, including three who had explosives in their possession," Brig. Gen. Majed al-Anbaki, deputy federal policy chief, told Mawtani.

Victims mourned

Security measures in Baghdad and Babil were stepped up during the funeral processions of the victims to prevent further attacks. Iraqis buried their friends and loved ones about three hours after security authorities lifted the curfew they had imposed immediately following the attacks, allowing victims' families to retrieve their bodies from hospitals.

The bodies of the victims were covered with Iraqi flags and white banners. Mourners denounced al-Qaeda in chants, and called on the government to address the security situation.

At least 23 funeral processions emerged from al-Shula, al-Kadhimiyah, al-Washash, al-Dora, Sabaa al-Bor, Sadr City, al-Mashtal, Baghdad al-Jadeeda, Karradat Mariam, al-Resala, al-Elam, al-Utaifiya, al-Hurriya and al-Zaafaraniya -- all areas that witnessed attacks on Tuesday, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

Processions headed towards cemeteries in Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala, while Babil provincial officials announced a three-day mourning period for victims who died in al-Iskandariyah and al-Hilla.

'Set differences aside'

At least 7,000 Iraqi citizens donated blood in Baghdad, Babil, Anbar, Diyala, Ninawa, Wasit and Karbala, to help the bombing victims, said Deputy Health Minister Khamees al-Saad.

Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq appealed to Iraqi citizens to "show compassion towards their brothers, the families of the victims, and help security forces in their effort to deprive al-Qaeda of taking an empty victory on the bodies of children, women and innocent citizens".

Al-Mutlaq told Mawtani he visited the sites of the attacks.

They were "mere havens for poor and disadvantaged Iraqis, and there was nothing that could be described as a security target, showing that terrorists are now focusing their war on the people, whether Sunnis or Shia, indiscriminately", he added.

Qusay al-Suhail, first deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament, condemned the attacks.

He called on all political parties to "unify their efforts in the face of al-Qaeda's threats, and set their political differences aside".

Meanwhile, Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Ghafoor al-Samarrae, head of the Sunni Endowment office in Iraq, said, "Today's bombings shed too much innocent blood."

"As in former attacks, they make it incumbent on us religious leaders, to stand in the face of those who use religion as a means to kill and intimidate people," he added.

"We, as Sunnis of Iraq, are absolved of al-Qaeda and those who support al-Qaeda," he said.

"The sacred blood that the terrorists shed today is very precious, and the terrorists will pay a heavy price soon, no doubt," said Saadoun Hussein, 39, a resident of Baghdad's al-Ameriya neighbourhood.

He called on security forces to "arrest the thugs and bring us the good news of their capture soon".

ADD A COMMENT (COMMENT POLICY) * DENOTES REQUIRED FIELD

* DENOTES REQUIRED FIELD

  • READER COMMENTS

    ابو علاوي

    2013-4-21

    Unfortunately, the series of murder will continue as long as we are sectarians even in our comments on the new s stories. When will we wake for this darkness? When will we be ready to sacrifice our souls to save each other? Did we become so bad? What is the price? Is it money and authority or foreign recruitment? Damn this world, which makes the people kill each other with cold blood.

  • سعید یحیی

    2013-4-14

    The problem is that when a terrorists or a suicide bomber is arrested while he insists on his crime, he receives all facilitation, drinking, and food and a good cell. After a while, the human rights organizations and the parties that hunt in the disturbed waters would demand his release.

  • ابن السماوه

    2013-4-11

    Iraq is the course of honor to the Arabs.

  • mayada

    2013-4-11

    Everything has a beginning and an end.

  • أحمد العزاوي

    2013-4-11

    We belong to God The Almighty and to him we shall return.

  • علي الحيالي

    2013-4-9

    We belong to God The Almighty and to him we shall return

  • ميس البصراويه

    2013-4-9

    May God punish the oppressors and there would be a day when you will pay for that

  • وسيم السامرائي

    2013-4-9

    Our prophet, peace be upon him, said that no Muslim is allowed to violate the rights of another Muslim as to his money, religion and honor. We seek God's help and support against al Qaeda!

  • أمير الضﻻم

    2013-4-9

    May God protect Iraq, God willing. Say amen.

  • ام مصطفى الاسم مطلوب

    2013-4-9

    There is no power except with God the Almighty.

  • علا الحسيني

    2013-4-9

    There is no power except with God the Almighty

  • أسيف العراقي

    2013-4-9

    May God disgrace all those who manipulate and exploit the blood of the Muslims.

  • اسعد الربيعي

    2013-4-8

    The government plays no role in the elimination of terrorism. The weakness, inability and corruption represent the main obstacles. May Allah have mercy upon our martyrs and provide their families with patience.

  • علي الموسوي

    2013-4-8

    O God! curse terrorism and Al-Qaeda.

  • يسرى

    2013-4-8

    May God take revenge on the cowardly aggressors.

  • انمار بوري

    2013-4-8

    We seek God's help against all oppressors.

  • حسين الحسناوي

    2013-4-8

    May God take revenge on the aggressors.

  • بنت النجف

    2013-4-8

    We seek God's help and support!

  • قاسم ابو حيدر

    2013-4-8

    May God take revenge on all the terrorists for the sake of Muhammad and his pure household.

  • العراقية

    2013-4-8

    We seek God's help against them. How long will we continue suffering from the bombings that kill the innocent families?

  • ابكي عل عراق

    2013-4-8

    O God! I ask you to support the people in southern Iraq.

  • مواطن كردي عراقي

    2013-4-7

    What will the official say to God on the Day of Judgment? Will he say that he was unaware or what? You will not be able to deceive God on the Day of Judgment. We will see you in this situation, God willing.

  • فؤاد العراقي

    2013-4-7

    May God take revenge on the aggressors. Say amen!

  • علي كريم

    2013-4-7

    God is the Greatest. There is no power except with God the Almighty.

  • علي السعبري

    2013-4-7

    We seek God's help and support!

  • حسن

    2013-4-7

    Iraq is the spear of God on earth. Be assured, because God’s spear will never be broken.

  • الاسم مطلوب محمد الدليمي

    2013-4-7

    May Allah have mercy upon all Iraqis, who lived under the care of the government.

  • حسين صباح

    2013-4-7

    May God take revenge on the aggressors.

  • zaid zaid.979

    2013-4-7

    May this bless Iraq and destroy all the oppressors.

  • حنان

    2013-4-6

    We seek God's help and support!

  • ابوثائرالعتابي

    2013-4-6

    There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

  • الحميدي

    2013-4-6

    O Mahdi, save me!

  • عبدالله الناصر

    2013-4-6

    We seek God's help and support!

  • احمد مجيد الديواني

    2013-4-6

    The Iraqis do not deserve what is happening, sister Alyaa’. However, the ones to be blamed are those who support the criminals. We hope to improve the morale of the families of the martyrs, God willing.

  • سفيرالاحزان

    2013-4-6

    There is no power except with God the Almighty.

  • احمدالحساس

    2013-4-6

    Why this happens to us? May God punish all those who oppress the Iraqis.

  • جريح العراق

    2013-4-6

    Thousand curses on the terrorism. Iraq is to all sects.

  • محمود المختار

    2013-4-6

    The day will come when the Iraqis would realize the real sense of patriotism and when this happens, there will be no place for the terrorism.

  • الرائد عيسى الموصلي

    2013-4-5

    Woe to the mercenaries of Al-Qaeda. Long live Iraq.

  • أشرف النواب

    2013-4-5

    God is with the patient people.

  • فرحان الركابي

    2013-4-5

    We ask God to protect Iraq and its people.

  • خالد الشيباني

    2013-4-5

    Seek God's help against the terrorism.

  • فيصل العيساوي

    2013-4-5

    May God take revenge upon all the oppressors. O God! Save the countries of the Muslims, especially in Iraq and Syria. Amen.

  • رشا

    2013-4-4

    What is the cause of his harm to the people. All what I can say is to seek God's help against whoever tries to harm the nation of Muhammad, peace be upon him.

  • ابو شهد

    2013-4-4

    Damn the bastards of Al-Qaeda.

  • امل العراقيه

    2013-4-3

    All these disasters are caused by the barbarians.

  • عبودي

    2013-4-3

    There is no power except with God the Almighty.

  • الصافي

    2013-4-3

    May God take revenge on the aggressors.

  • جاسم تجم

    2013-4-2

    I think that even the Jews cannot commit such crimes. Islam is innocent of those people.

  • جلال العلوي الحسيني

    2013-4-1

    The Iraqi men and women have become stronger in their love for their home. The patriotism has a price, which is martyrdom. Congratulations to them. Galal Al-Alawi.

  • الم العراق

    2013-4-1

    O God! Accelerate the emergence of your Wali.

  • محمد

    2013-4-1

    May Allaah have mercy upon Iraq and admit it to Paradise with his mercy. Muhammad Nathir Al-Mawla.

  • واثق

    2013-3-31

    May God support Iraq and its people against the terrorism.

  • امجد العراقي

    2013-3-31

    We belong to God The Almighty and to Him we shall return We seek God's help and support!

  • علاء العاني

    2013-3-31

    We belong to God The Almighty and to Him we shall return. May God take revenge on the aggressors.

  • حسن التميمي

    2013-3-31

    May Allah have mercy upon our martyrs and admit them to the spacious Paradise. We wish quick recovery to the wounded people, God willing.

  • صباح مجيد

    2013-3-31

    This requires more precision in searching especially the checkpoints at the entrances of Baghdad.

  • السيد ابراهيم الغالبي

    2013-3-30

    May Allaah have mercy upon these souls and admit them to Paradise for the sake of Muhammad, his household. Ibrahim Al-Ghalibi

  • متحفض

    2013-3-30

    O God! Take revenge upon all the vandals in Iraq. O God! Iraq is the home of the zealous and righteous people. O God! Have mercy upon us and save us from this Fitna.

  • عاشق العراق

    2013-3-29

    May God curse terrorism and Al-Qaeda.

  • حسام البصري

    2013-3-29

    May God disgrace the terrorism. What is the guilt of the child to be burnt inside the car?

  • سلام التميمي

    2013-3-28

    All what we want to say to the cowardly terrorists is one thing: If you target us while you are sure that the government will not see you, then you must be sure that God sees you and soon you will be punished. We seek God's help against you.

  • ضياء الدين

    2013-3-28

    A farmer and his family, I see they have nothing to do with politics, is it right that he get burnt and bombed in a suicidal operation? What a real mess is witnessed by the country? It is not because the government is not doing its duty; it is because of the inhumanity of some people who call themselves Islamists whereas Islam is free and innocent of them. As a Muslim I witness before God that those mean malignant figures didn't have any mercy and didn't let anything alone whether green or dry or souls, they corrupted everything with their explosions and destruction. I appeal to God to punish them, O God of the Worlds; Iraq has bled from all over its parts. So any government in the world can't stop such diabolic acts; if it were a war, we would have known who is the other enemy side and where is it and where it gets weapons from. But this terrorism has no religion or home and nobody knows where it comes from and where it is from! God is our supporter and best helper.

  • نبيل

    2013-3-28

    I see the Iraqi government exerts all efforts and the Ministerial committee that had been formed for fulfilling the demands of Iraqis as required by the representatives of the demonstrations is the most important point because dialogue is the solution that must be used during crisis which will help to take us out of all these grieves, but tension and more anger without dialogue is like a powerful storm that comes and goes without any use. Iraqis are required to cool down because Iraq might witness more demonstrations, but sorrowfully with no outcome after these demonstrations or protests. You have all rights and your demands are right, but you must be more rational because nobody denies that al Qaeda in Iraq terrified the infant inside his mother's womb and the movement of economy nearly stopped due to the accidents of murder and bombings, and who witness these conditions are not like those who just talk about them, those demonstrations live and suffer this tragedy and we all understand that, but kindly cool down in order to sit for dialogue to find solution.

  • علاء الأعرجي

    2013-3-27

    God willing, the emergence of Imam (AJ) will be soon, relief is coming soon, O Wahhabi Takfiris…

  • نور

    2013-3-26

    For what sin was she killed?

  • باسمه كاظم اعلامية

    2013-3-25

    Iraq will remain lofty despite of the massive storms. Iraq will never bow because the people are still strong and they will stand in the face of the challenges. Baghdad will remain the mother of all civilizations of the world.

  • عراقي

    2013-3-24

    Why do you use the word victims and deceased? Do you not think that the Iraqis are martyrs? Please, pay attention because the Palestinian who is kill in Palestine is called as a martyr, while the Iraqis who die in Iraq are called a victim and deceased?

  • بنت العراق

    2013-3-24

    May God grant mercy to our martyrs and may He take vengeance on those who cause terrorist explosions and may He bring shame on them in this world and in the hereafter.

  • اللهم انتقم من انصار الخونه ومن الخونة في هذا البل

    2013-3-24

    May God take revenge on the traitorous members of the government and their supporters

  • علياء هاني عباس

    2013-3-22

    We should blame the security office and the prime minister for their neglect and failure to bring advanced search equipment. This is unforgivable neglect and the Iraqis deserve destruction for their silence and belittlement of their souls.

  • احزان

    2013-3-21

    I liked it.

  • ديدو

    2013-3-21

    We ask God to disgrace all those who want to harm Iraq.

  • طارق

    2013-3-21

    These despicable people might use the same tactics, but they claim the lives of different people. Those who died today aren't those who died yesterday. I can’t fathom why these terrorists harbor all of this hatred for Iraqis in their hearts. Is their hostility against the regime or against the people or who else? The problem is that Iraqis are now sure their demise will sooner or later come at the hands of terrorists