Iraqi officials: Targeting civilians reveals al-Qaeda shortcomings

A doctor treats a child wounded in a bombing last year in Baghdad. Officials have condemned recent attacks for specifically targeting civilians. [Mohammed al-Qaisi/Mawtani]

A doctor treats a child wounded in a bombing last year in Baghdad. Officials have condemned recent attacks for specifically targeting civilians. [Mohammed al-Qaisi/Mawtani]

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The Iraqi government on Tuesday (June 4th) accused al-Qaeda of premeditation in its targeting of civilians in recent attacks on marketplaces and public areas of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities.

In addition to security efforts to pursue the perpetrators of these attacks, the Iraqi government has started paying compensation to the victims and is covering the cost of their medical treatment, officials told Mawtani.

Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani told Mawtani that reports issued by the Ministries of Defence, Interior and Health confirmed that 91% of the victims of the recent attacks in Baghdad, Diyala, Salaheddine, Ninawa and cities in southern Iraq were unarmed civilians.

The Iraqi government has taken steps to transfer the wounded to hospitals in India, Turkey, Germany and other European countries at its own expense, he said.

Ministerial committees have begun to visit the families of victims at their own homes to evaluate their economic condition and grant them financial compensation, he said.

Families who lost their sole provider have been given an additional one month salary, he added.

Health Ministry undersecretary Khamees al-Saad told Mawtani many of the victims suffered severe injuries, including third degree burns, and were still in the hospital.

Medical tests revealed "al-Qaeda used poisonous and contaminated materials in those bombings, with the aim of inflicting the largest number of casualties among the innocents", he said.

The ministry's medical staff has been working to stabilise and care for the victims, especially the serious cases, until they can be taken outside the country to undergo surgeries, al-Saad said.

A 'dirty war' against Iraqis

Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Saad Maan told Mawtani that around 53 children and 38 women were killed and another 120 were wounded in the bombings.

The recent attacks "revealed the true face of terrorism, which is represented by al-Qaeda", he said, adding that the victims were from all sects and ethnicities.

The majority of the strikes occurred inside houses of worship, markets, shops, residential areas and streets crowded with pedestrians, he added.

Maan said the targeting of unarmed civilians in public places signals al-Qaeda's inability to access security centres or government institutions.

Iraqi security forces have adopted a new security plan to curb attacks through the launch of preventive and pre-emptive operations against al-Qaeda strongholds in the Baghdad governorate and provinces where attacks are occurring, Maan said.

Ministry of Defence spokesman Maj. Gen. Mohammad al-Askari told Mawtani the Iraqi government has increased the reward for information about the recent attacks to 125 million Iraqi dinars ($100,000).

Al-Askari urged citizens to submit any bit of information, however small, as it might help security forces capture the culprits, adding that their identity and the amount of the award would remain confidential.

Parliamentary committee on security and defence chairman Hassan al-Sunaid described the attacks as "a dirty war by al-Qaeda against the Iraqi people", calling on Iraqis to unite to stop them.

"Al-Qaeda must know well that regardless of how much bombing or killing it commits, we will not surrender or submit," Baghdad resident Hatem Kareem, 45, told Mawtani.

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    اياد الموسوي

    2013-6-11

    Oh my beloved Iraq.