List of terrorist incidents in Iraq since 2003

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Suicide bombings in Iraq since 2003 have killed thousands of people, mostly Iraqi civilians, and are considered[citation needed] to constitute a new phenomenon in the history of warfare. Suicide bombings have been used as a tactic in other armed struggles, but their frequency and lethality in Iraq is unprecedented.[1]

A 2005 Human Rights Watch report analysed the insurgency in Iraq and highlighted, "The groups that are most responsible for the abuse, namely al-Qaeda in Iraq and its allies, Ansar al-Sunna and the Islamic State of Iraq, have all targeted civilians for abductions and executions. The first two groups have repeatedly boasted about massive car bombs and suicide bombs in mosques, markets, bus stations and other civilian areas. Such acts are war crimes and in some cases may constitute crimes against humanity, which are defined as serious crimes committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population."[2]

A 2008 RAND Research Brief Counterinsurgency in Iraq: 2003 - 2006 depicts a chart that shows in June and July 2004, Iraqi insurgents began to shift their focus away from attacking U.S. and coalition forces with roadside bombs and instead began targeting the Iraqi population with suicide bombers and vehicle-borne IEDs. By increasing the number of suicide bombings against civilians and accepting their targeting in retribution, the insurgents sought to expose the weakness of the coalition-Iraqi security and reconstruction apparatus, threaten those who collaborated with the government, generate funds and propaganda, and increasingly enact sectarian revenge. The U.S. failure to adapt to this shift had dramatic consequences. By June 2004, U.S. deaths represented less than 10% of overall deaths on the battlefield and Iraqi deaths represented more than 90% - a figure that remained constant for the next 18 months of the War.

An analysis by Iraq Body Count and co-authors published in 2011 concluded that at least 12,284 civilians were killed in at least 1,003 suicide bombings in Iraq between 2003 and 2010. The study reveals that suicide bombings kill 60 times as many civilians as soldiers [3][4]


2003: 25 suicide bombings[edit]

In 2003, the United States military invaded Iraq. There were 25 suicide bombings executed by 32 attackers over the course of the year.

2004: 140 suicide bombings[edit]

In 2004, the number of suicide bombings increased dramatically. Iraq saw heavy combat at the violent First and Second Battles of Fallujah.

2005: 478 suicide bombings[edit]

In 2005, Iraq held its first elections since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. Meanwhile, suicide bombings spiked, with 478 suicide bombings over the course of the year.

2006: 297 suicide bombings[edit]

In 2006, sectarian strife dominated Iraq, although the overall number of suicide bombings fell. The deadliest attack of the war to that point occurred on November 23 in Sadr City.

2007: 442 Suicide Bombings[edit]

In 2007, the United States executed the Iraq War troop surge of 2007. Meanwhile, 442 suicide bombings occurred, one of the highest yearly total since the war began.

2008: 257 Suicide Bombings[edit]

In 2008, following the troop surge, the number of suicide bombings dropped somewhat, with 257 attacks occurring.

2009: 76 Suicide Bombings[edit]

In 2009, 76 suicide bombings occurred – the fewest since 2003. On June 30, 2009, American troops formally withdrew from Iraqi cities and towns, handing over control to Iraqi security forces. The United States is now the only foreign nation with troops in Iraq, following Australia's July 2009 withdrawal.

2010: 44 Suicide Bombings[edit]

In 2010, 44 suicide bombings have occurred.

Post American pull-out[edit]

Following the American pull-out from Iraq and the formal end of the Iraq War, bombings have continued in the country.[5]


  1. ^ Williams, Carol J. (June 2, 2005). "Suicide attacks soaring in Iraq". Retrieved January 31, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Iraq: Insurgent Groups Responsible for War Crimes". Human Rights News. October 3, 2005. Retrieved August 29, 2006. 
  3. ^ "Casualties of suicide bombings in Iraq, 2003-2010". September 3, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Casualties in civilians and coalition soldiers from suicide bombings in Iraq, 2003—10: a descriptive study". The Lancet. September 3, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Deadly clash breaks out at Sunni protest in Iraq -". CNN. April 23, 2013. 

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