Iraq violence unabated; 460 killed in April


Published — Thursday 2 May 2013

Last update 2 May 2013 2:44 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

BAGHDAD: Violence in Iraq rose sharply in April, killing 460 people according to AFP figures, as May started off with attacks that left 13 people dead yesterday, including six police and four anti-Qaeda fighters.
The majority of the April deaths came during a wave of unrest that began near the end of the month when security forces moved on anti-government protesters in north Iraq, sparking clashes that killed 53 people.
Dozens more people died in subsequent violence that included revenge attacks on security forces, raising fears of a return to the all-out sectarian conflict that cost tens of thousands of lives in Iraq from 2006 to 2008.
Protesters have called for the resignation of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and railed against authorities for allegedly targeting the people with wrongful detentions and accusations of involvement in terrorism.
Unrest in April also wounded 1,219 people, according to the AFP figures, which are based on reports from security and medical sources.
Among the dead in April were 54 police, 53 soldiers, 14 Sahwa Anti-Qaeda militiamen, and two members of the Kurdish security forces.
The wounded included 171 police, 76 soldiers, eight Sahwa fighters and five Kurdish security forces members.
The majority of the rest of those killed and wounded in April were civilians, although the figures also include some gunmen who died or were injured in clashes with security forces.
In March, 271 people were killed and 906 wounded in violence, though those figures only included security forces and civilians.
The month of May began with more deadly attacks.
A suicide bomber targeted Sahwa militiamen in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, killing a police officer and four Sahwa, while a car bomb in Ramadi killed three police and another in the capital left three more people dead, security and medical officials said.
Gunmen also attacked a checkpoint near Tikrit, north of Baghdad, killing two more police.
“Conditions have definitely worsened in the country,” said John Drake, an Iraq specialist with risk consulting firm AKE Group.
“If the government fails to contain the unrest and address some of the grievances of the protesters, the momentum could certainly build and lead to a reemergence of widespread violence,” he said.
The wave of unrest at the end of April raised fears in Iraq of a return to sectarian conflict.
Maliki has warned of “those who want to take the country back to sectarian civil war,” and also said that sectarian strife “came back to Iraq because it began in another place in this region,” an apparent reference to Syria.
The civil war in neighboring Syria pitting rebels against the regime of President Bashar Assad has killed more than 70,000 people.
Abdulghafur Al-Samarraie and Saleh Al-Haidari, top clerics who head different religious endowments, have held a joint news conference in which they warned against sectarian strife.
Samarraie said there were “malicious plans... with the goal of taking the country towards sectarian conflict.”
Violence in Iraq has fallen from its peak during the height of the sectarian conflict in 2006 and 2007, when death tolls of over 1,000 a month were reported.
But attacks remain common, with people killed on 29 of the 30 days in April, and more than 200 people dead in unrest each month so far this year.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

Arab News Editor in Chief Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi hosted a banquet for editors in chief of local print and online publications, Shoura Council members, representative of the Ministry of Culture and Information, prominent writers and columnists in Je...
JEDDAH: Health workers from Riyadh’s National Guard hospital would not be allowed to perform Haj this year, or work at the holy sites, the Ministry of Health has announced.Hail Al-Abdali, head of the ministry’s infection control unit, was reportedly...
JEDDAH: The Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Abdul Lateef Al-Asheikh has introduced new legislative amendments to allow voters to produce a range of identity documents so that they can register for the upcoming elections.Al-Asheikh amended Art...
RIYADH: Construction on the multibillion-riyal Riyadh Metro is well under way with several giant drilling machines working overtime to ensure that underground tunnels for the project are completed on schedule.The Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA)...
JEDDAH: Officials from the Saudi Ministry of Haj have been holding meetings with their counterparts from Arab and South Asian nations in preparation for this year’s pilgrimage.Abdulrahman bin Ali Al-Nafei, assistant deputy minister of Haj and in char...
RIYADH: Four polling stations in Tabuk have stopped registering voters for the Dec. 12 municipal elections in the region.Ibrahim bin Ahmed Al-Ghabban, undersecretary at the Tabuk municipality and member of the local committee for the election of a mu...
JEDDAH: Many prospective candidates running for seats on the country’s municipal councils have been using Twitter to boost their election campaigns.Many have been using religious expressions in their messages, such as “In the name of God,” and “If He...
DAMMAM: There has been a flurry of activity on the Kingdom’s highways as service companies race to meet the Jan. 19 deadline for the revamp of dilapidated gas stations.The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has previously handed out rehabilitati...
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Germany have signed an agreement on mutual protection of classified information to provide a legal framework for enhanced cooperation in the defense sector. The pact was signed by Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Aish, assistant mini...
JEDDAH: While Saudi Arabia has now arrested the main suspect in the 1996 bombing of the Alkhobar Towers residence at an American military base in the country, the hunt continues for three others, according to reports in the local media on Thursday.Ah...

Stay Connected