2007 Yazidi communities bombings
|2007 Yazidi communities bombings|
Location of Qahtaniyah, Iraq
|Location||Qahtaniyah and Jazeera, Iraq|
|Date||August 14, 2007 (UTC+3)|
|Likely Al-Qaeda in Iraq (U.S. suspicion).|
The 2007 Yazidi communities bombings occurred on August 14, 2007, when four co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks detonated in the Yazidi towns of Qahtaniyah (Til Ezer) and Jazeera (Siba Sheikh Khidir), near Mosul in Iraq.
The Iraqi Red Crescent estimated that the bombs killed at least 500 and wounded 1,500 people, making this the Iraq War's most deadly car bomb attack. It was also the second deadliest act of terrorism in history, following only behind the September 11 attacks in the United States. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Tensions and background
For several months leading up to the attack, tensions had been building up in the area, particularly between Yazidis and Sunni Muslims (Muslims including Arabs and Kurds). Some Yazidis living in the area received threatening letters calling them "infidels". Leaflets were also distributed denouncing Yazidis as "anti-Islamic" and warning them that an attack was imminent.
The attack might be connected to an incident wherein Du’a Khalil Aswad, a 17-year-old Yazidi girl, was stoned to death by the Yazidis. Aswad was believed to have wanted to convert in order to marry a Sunni. Two weeks later, after a video of the stoning appeared on the Internet, Sunni gunmen stopped minibuses filled with Yazidis; 23 Yazidi men were forced from a bus and shot dead.
The Sinjar area which has a mixed population of Yazidis, Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs was scheduled to vote in a plebiscite on accession to the Kurdish region in December 2007. This caused hostility among the neighbouring Arab communities. A force of 600 Kurdish Peshmerga was subsequently deployed in the area, and ditches were dug around Yazidi villages to prevent further attacks.
The bombings occurred at around 7:20 pm local time on August 14, 2007, when four co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks detonated in the Yazidi towns of Qahtaniyah and Jazeera (Siba Sheikh Khidir), near Mosul. They targeted the Yazidi, a religious minority in Iraq, using a fuel tanker and three cars. An Iraqi interior ministry spokesman said that two tons of explosives were used in the blasts, which crumbled buildings, trapping entire families beneath mud bricks and other wreckage as entire neighborhoods were flattened. Rescuers dug underneath the destroyed buildings by hand to search for remaining survivors.
"Hospitals here are running out of medicine. The pharmacies are empty. We need food, medicine and water otherwise there will be an even greater catastrophe," said Abdul-Rahim al-Shimari, mayor of the Baaj district, which includes the devastated villages.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Iraq's President, Jalal Talabani, accused Iraqi Sunni insurgents of the bombings, pointing at the history of Sunni violence against Yazidis. They were reported to have distributed leaflets denouncing Yazidis as "anti-Islamic". Although the attacks carry Al-Qaeda's signature of multiple simultaneous attacks, it is unclear why they would refrain from claiming responsibility for such a successful operation. "We're looking at Al-Qaeda as the prime suspect," said Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver, a United States military spokesman.
On September 3, 2007, the U.S. military reportedly killed the mastermind of the bombings, Abu Mohammed al-Afri.
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