Baghdad bombings kill 27; Christians flee Mosul under threat of death
BAGHDAD — A series of bombings, including three over a span of less than 10 minutes, killed at least 27 people across Baghdad on Saturday, shaking the fragile sense of security the capital has maintained despite the Sunni militant offensive raging across northern and western Iraq.
The deadliest bombing took place in the Shiite neighborhood of Abu Dashir, where a suicide attacker rammed a car packed with explosives into a checkpoint, killing at least nine people and wounding 19, officials said. Four policemen were among the dead, a police officer said.
The attacks in Baghdad are among the most significant in the capital since Sunni terrorists led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria captured Iraq's second-largest city Mosul last month at the start of its blitz. After Mosul's fall, the government moved aggressively to try to secure Baghdad amid fears it might fall as well.
In Mosul on Saturday, the terrorists sent a message over loudspeakers, giving Christians until midday to make a choice: convert to Islam, pay a tax or die.
By the time the deadline expired, the vast majority of Christians in Mosul had made their decision: none of the above.
Instead, they fled.
They clambered into cars — children, parents, grandparents — and headed for the largely autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq or other areas protected by the Kurdish security forces. Their departure marks the latest — and perhaps final — exodus of Christians from the city, emptying out communities that date back to the first centuries of Christianity, including Chaldean, Assyrian and Armenian churches.
Meanwhile, Iraqi military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi denied reports that militants had captured a former American military facility known as Camp Speicher. Heavy fighting has raged around the air field northwest of Tikrit, and al-Moussawi said government troops repelled an attack on Friday and that the base remains under government control.
A resident of Tikrit, Ahmed Jassim, said by telephone that clashes were taking place around Speicher on Saturday, but “the gunmen are outside the camp.” The center of Tikrit is under insurgent control and is being shelled by the Iraqi military, he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Burkina Faso army general takes power after president’s resignation
- Missing American siblings found dead in Mexico
- Burkina Faso’s parliament stormed by protesters
- Airstrikes against Islamic State fail to stop flow of jihadists into Syria
- For more Asians, money delivers more happiness
- Kerry admits American official’s use of barnyard vulgarity is ‘damaging’
- Israel limits prayers at Al-Aqsa site
- Activists’ families on hunger strike
- Gunman in Ottawa attack had been waiting for passport to go to Syria
- Libyan army holds triumphant parade in Benghazi
- As oil prices fall, fear rises in Venezuela