Updated at 11:55 p.m. EDT, July 28, 2008
Four female suicide bombers staged attacks in two different cities today, killing and wounding hundreds of Iraqis. One attack targeted religious pilgrims, while the other focused on political demonstrators. Overall, at least 87 Iraqis were killed and 288 more were wounded across the country. No Coalition deaths were reported.
In Baghdad, three female suicide bombers blew themselves up among Shi’ite pilgrims in the Karrada neighborhood. At least 32 were killed and 102 were wounded in the attack. The casualties were mostly women and children heading to the Imam Kadhim shrine in the northern Baghdad of Kadhimiya. Security forces feared the use of women in suicide attacks, but Islamic custom forbids the touching of women by unrelated men, so 200 women were searching an expected million pilgrims for potential bombers. The bombings occurred separately but within minutes of each other. One attacker apparently left her bomb behind at a tent. Also, 50 suspects were arrested and 20 bombs were defused. Meanwhile, four bank robbers were captured.
Another female suicide bomber attacked a political rally in Kirkuk. The explosion and subsequent police gunfire caused a stampede. Then, angry Kurds attacked Turkman political party offices, blaming the minority group for the bombing. The attack and ensuing chaos left 38 dead and another 178 wounded.
Demonstrators were protesting a provincial election law that passed in parliament last week, but was then rejected by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who is a Kurd. At issue, is a power sharing scheme for the oil-rich and ethnically diverse province. The law would not only spell out how power will be shared but also permit provincial elections to take place in October. Arabs, Turkmen, and Christians live there along with a majority Kurdish population who would like the province to politically join the Kurdish Autonomous Region.
In Mosul, violent security operations left four Iraqi soldiers and four suspects dead; 58 suspects were detained. As many as six Iraqi soldiers were wounded alongside a Coalition soldier. A female government official was shot dead in eastern Mosul, while a civilian was killed in a central neighborhood. A female body was discovered. Also, two policemen were wounded in an attack in northern Mosul.
An Awakening Council member was killed during a clash in Latifiyah.
A female body bearing gunshots and handcuffs was found in a river near Mussayab.
A bomb in Balad Ruz killed four people.
Five people were arrested in Amara.
In Muqdadiya, the deputy governor of Diyala province was detained then released.
In Samarra, eight suspects were detained.
Two suspects were arrested in Diwaniyah.
Five suspects were captured in Basra.
Thirty al-Qaeda suspects were detained across northern and central Iraq.
Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) spokesmen denied their involvement in yesterday’s bombing in Istanbul and attributed the attack to hardline Turkish nationalists. No one has claimed responsibility but Turkish officials suspect PKK rebels, who are fighting for self-rule in eastern Turkey.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis