Deadly Blasts In Baghdad Leave Gruesome Traces

Deadly Blasts In Baghdad Leave Gruesome Traces
January 5th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Deadly Blasts In Baghdad Leave Gruesome Traces

Deadly Blasts In Baghdad Leave Gruesome Traces
New York Times
January 5, 2007
By Marc Santora and Johan Spanner
BAGHDAD, Jan. 4 — The foot was balanced on a shopping bag after being scooped up off the dirty street by a man in a track suit. There was no person to go with the limb. Nearby a charred body was still smoldering, smoke coming off the black corpse 45 minutes after the attack.
For 50 yards, the dead were scattered about, some in pieces, some whole but badly burned.
This violence on Thursday involved two bombs timed to go off one after another in the formerly upscale neighborhood of Mansour, which continues to be ripped apart by sectarian violence. Thirteen people were killed and 22 wounded, just a small fraction of the civilians killed across the country this week.
The first device went off at 10:15 a.m., probably a roadside bomb set on a timer, officials said.
The attack was apparently aimed at a gasoline station. Cars were lined up around the block waiting for fuel, and dozens of people, grasping large plastic jugs, hoped to buy heating fuel.
Just moments after the first explosion, a second, larger, car bomb detonated.
The neighborhood has traditionally been a mixed Sunni and Shiite one. Although the Abu Jaffar gas station, where the attack was centered, is in what is considered a Sunni area, the method of the attack — multiple bombs timed to explode in succession — is usually thought of as a trademark of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a Sunni insurgent group.
An hour after the explosion, there was still a strong stench of burning gasoline and fire. The road was slick with sludge from the water used to douse the fire. Blood pooled in areas. Scores of armed men were running about, including members of the Iraqi Army and the police. Some of those with machine guns had no uniforms at all.
Shots rang out, mostly in warning. Neighbors gathered outside, oddly calm and seemingly accustomed to such carnage.
A tanker truck filled with fuel was parked near the station, having escaped the blast.
Not surprisingly, residents living near the area blamed everyone from the government to the Americans to terrorists for what had happened.
“We are just innocent people,” said Nafia Abdul Jabbar. “The people killed were poor, in need of kerosene that they cannot afford to buy on the black market because the price is 10 times more than it is at the station.”
Elsewhere, a mortar attack was directed at the Shiite neighborhood of Huriya, wounding three people, officials said.
Clashes on the outskirts of the Sunni neighborhood of Ghazaliya left two people dead and 25 people wounded, Iraqi officials said. A grenade attack in the Amin neighborhood killed five people.
Across the city on Thursday, officials said, 47 bodies were found mutilated — 4 of them with their heads cut off.
An interview with the family of a man recently mutilated and killed, a prominent sheik considered to be the prince of the Tamim tribes, gives a glimpse into the complicated underworld that is, in part, responsible for the trucks full of bodies collected around this city every day.
The man, Sheik Hamid Mohammed al-Suhail, 75, was found Wednesday in the Shuala neighborhood of Baghdad, a Shiite redoubt, by members of his tribe, which is mixed Shiite and Sunni, who were searching for him. He disappeared last Sunday, and his mutilated body was found wrapped in a blanket, covered in blood. The search party recognized his body by the distinctive way the beard was trimmed.
He had been an outspoken critic of the sectarian fighting and participated in a recent conference in Cairo on national reconciliation.
The kidnappers, whom his relatives hinted they knew but would describe only as “militiamen” for fear of reprisal, initially called his family asking for $100,000, said a nephew, Sheik Ali Sammi al-Suhail.
The family told the kidnappers they did not have the money, the nephew said.
“The body was mutilated in a brutal way,” he said. “They used a drill on him and perhaps other tools.”
One hand and one leg were almost completely severed.
The nephew said he had been told by people who said they witnessed the killing that after his uncle was tortured, his body was thrown from a two-story building. He survived the fall but was brutalized further before finally being killed.
Another prominent Iraqi figure, Sheik Akram al-Zubeidi, was killed Thursday in Karbala, a Shiite holy city where there has been little sectarian strife. Sheik Zubeidi was assassinated when he was stopped at a fake checkpoint, a local hospital official said.
Three other people in the car with him were also killed by the gunmen, whose motive was unclear.
There was continued fallout Thursday from the execution of Saddam Hussein, as Sunnis, from Kashmir to Libya, used his death as a rallying point.
The Libyan government announced that it would erect a statue of him to stand next to one of Libya’s own national heroes, news agencies reported.
At least nine people were hurt in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir when the police fired rubber-coated bullets to break up a large group of people protesting the execution, Reuters reported.
Two Iraqi officials involved in the investigation of the distribution of a graphic video of the hanging said Thursday that a second guard was being held for questioning. Officials announced the arrest of the first guard on Wednesday.
There is increasing pressure, including from the White House, on the Iraqi government to proceed with caution in carrying out the execution of Mr. Hussein’s two co-defendants, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Mr. Hussein’s half brother, and Awad al-Bandar, a former judge.
Despite the international reaction directed at the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, Mr. Maliki’s popularity among Shiites in southern Iraq seems to have increased.
In Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, hundreds of demonstrators representing Islamist parties rallied in the streets, praising Mr. Maliki and setting photos of Mr. Hussein on fire.
Ahmad Fadam contributed reporting from Baghdad, and Iraqi employees of The New York Times from Karbala, Basra and Hilla.

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