Civilians represent over 80% of victims in al-Qaeda attacks in Iraq

A girl lies in a Basra hospital after being wounded from a bombing in January. [Atef Hassan/Reuters]

A girl lies in a Basra hospital after being wounded from a bombing in January. [Atef Hassan/Reuters]

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The Iraqi ministries of Interior and Health released statistics showing that over 80% of the victims of al-Qaeda's suicide operations in 2012 were civilians.

"Al-Qaeda's suicide operations left 98 persons dead including 71 civilians, and 321 wounded including 278 civilians since the beginning of 2012," said Dr. Khamees al-Saad, deputy secretary of the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

Al-Saad said women and children represented 50% of the total number of those killed, with children representing 33% and women 17%.

Maj. Gen. Adel Dahham, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said the new statistics included victims who died in al-Qaeda suicide attacks in Baghdad, Anbar, Ninawa, Babylon, Diyala, Salah al-Din and Karbala provinces.

"These suicide operations targeted popular markets, public places and religious processions," Dahham told Mawtani.

He said during 2012 "a serious decline was recorded in the terrorists' ability to reach sensitive security centres, government institutions, and ministries, which led them to focus their anger on civilians".

"Al-Qaeda is using [mentally ill] individuals and drug addicts for their operations, which indicates al-Qaeda is facing a crisis in recruiting new suicide bombers to their ranks because of their declining support in Iraq," he said.

Dahham said Iraqi security forces prepared a new plan to curb those attacks and thwart them before they occur in order to safeguard Iraqi citizens.

'Suicide attacks are the cheapest weapon in al-Qaeda's arsenal'

Maj. Gen. Mohammad al-Askeri, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, said, "Al-Qaeda suicide bombings, which targeted mosques, religious celebrations, weddings and marketplaces, indicate the organisation is suffering a serious phase of weakness."

"Al-Qaeda terrorists resorted to self-detonation because they found car bombs and explosive charges are costlier than recruiting suicide bombers who are ready to detonate themselves. Also, there is a possibility that the suicide bombers might be uncovered by the security forces if they used car bombs or explosive charges," he said.

Al-Askeri said the Iraqi government increased the reward for providing information on suicide bombers and their recruiters to 100 million Iraqi dinars ($86,000).

Most suicide bombers 'on drugs'

Khalid Abdullah al-Alwany, a member of the Iraqi parliament's defence and security committee, said, "It is apparent that in most of al-Qaeda's suicide attacks, based upon tests performed on the remains of the suicide bombers, that the attackers had taken drugs that affect their mental capacity."

Alwany told Mawtani the committee obtained reports showing that al-Qaeda has resorted to kidnapping individuals, handcuffing their hands to cars' steering wheels, and detonating the car bombs by remote control.

Sheikh Faisal al-Essawi, a professor of Islamic Sharia and chairman of the religious affairs committee for the Anbar provincial office, said, "Al-Qaeda's killing of innocent civilians and Iraqis in general is very far from the teachings of the venerated Islam, which prohibits the killing of people without the right to do so."

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    مسلم

    2012-3-30

    Is there any religion or law that condones targeting the civilians in this painful way? What is the law that is adopted by the al-Qaeda terrorist organization and that justifies such terrorist acts? What makes al-Qaeda believe that it has the right to kill and target civilians with these massive amounts of bombs and car bombs that kill the innocents? The acts of terrorism are hostile atrocities, which prove that this organization attacks all parties and that all people need to resist it, because it does not differentiate between people. All civilians are legitimate targets in the view of this terrorist organization, which orders the mean villains who work for it to carry out these dirty crimes, irrespective of the civilians who will fall as a result of these cowardly operations. These crimes reflect a realistic image of this organization and its objectives that may deceive some people who have stinking minds.

  • كمال عدي

    2012-3-26

    The criminal al-Qaeda has adopted various methods to make the security situation in Iraq fragile and weak. In fact, these despicable methods represent an attempt to fan sectarian strife among the Iraqi people, through provoking conflicts. In this respect, al-Qaeda is committing massacres, sometimes against members of the Shiite sect and sometimes against the Sunnis. They want to make the two sects fight each other. In addition, they are planting bombs in the streets, markets, gathering places, and even wedding and funeral places. They also put booby-trapped cars near government offices and camps in order to kill people indiscriminately. Indeed, they do not distinguish among their victims. Moreover, terrorists are committing acts of kidnapping, financial extortion and unspeakable cruelty. They do that in order to spread terror and fear in the country. They want to get rid of the Iraqi population in order to enable their organization to take control of the country and manipulate the fate of the people. However, this dirty game will not fool the Iraqi people, who decided to stand united against the terrorist organizations. In fact, they are ready to defend their land and their holy places at any cost.

  • مرزوق علي

    2012-3-26

    Al-Qaeda is targeting civilians in Iraq in order to achieve some political and economic objectives in the country. Besides, they want to fight other organizations that oppose the ideology and methods of al-Qaeda, to the detriment of the innocent Iraqi people. The latter are the victims of violence which frequently erupts between these criminal organizations which came from foreign countries. In fact, they are taking advantage of the unstable security situation, which marred the country during the recent war. During that period, Iraq suffered from insecurity. Therefore, those organizations managed to enter the country with forged identification papers, which allowed them to move about in the country freely and commit various types of crimes. These criminals were mostly targeting innocent Iraqi people, who lost their lives because of the acts of violence carried out by criminal organizations in order to reach their goals. Indeed, they aim to take control of the reins of the country and loot the immense wealth of Iraq.

  • زكي

    2012-3-16

    The crimes that the terrorist al-Qaeda has committed against Muslims in the Arab-Muslim countries are very sad crimes that show the depth of underdevelopment of this organization, all of its elements, leaders, and their general ideas. This is a false ideology through which they claim al-Jihad and they are carrying it in sharp contrast regarding the killing and distorting the image of Islam, the true Islamic religion which is the religion of tolerance and prohibition of killing an innocent soul. They are doing everything forbidden in Islam and it has not been allowed. I do not know personally why those dogs belonging to al-Qaeda implement them. It is either a foreign agenda that they are working with because they are servants of a certain side which guides and supports terrorism. Another reason is that some of those terrorist elements have become addicted to killing and seeing blood of innocent people. For this reason, they cannot live without killing and the culture of violence has become present in their minds. Muslims suffer so much more than others clearly from what al-Qaeda is doing including ongoing operations targeting several objectives, subjugating them to support al-Qaeda and for the purpose of stirring sectarian strife through the killing of Muslims of the two parties, whether Shiite or Sunni. Such is the case for every other spectrum in order to ignite sedition between the sons of the Islamic religion. Therefore, I wish that the Islamic world will get rid of this infidel criminal dirty terrorist organization which exceeded all the values and does not respect anything.

  • تزار اكرم

    2012-3-16

    The targeting of Muslim civilians by the Al-Qaeda organization is a part of Al-Qaeda’s plan chain to destroy the stability and the unity of the Arab and Islamic world.

  • صبحي فضييل

    2012-3-15

    Poor Iraqis have always been subjected to murder and slaughter acts on the part of infidels from the criminal al-Qaeda. In fact, al-Qaeda has carried out bad acts, namely filthy acts which we should not keep silent towards. As far as I am concerned, Iraqi civilians are the strongest and they are doing their utmost in order to face terrorism and terrorists. Indeed, they have always faced all the terrorist acts. In fact, this Organization thinks that through attacking and taking control of Iraqi civilians, they will take control of the entire country. Yet, it is stupid and does not know that Iraqis are one of the noblest and best people. In this respect, they have challenged a lot of hardships and pains. In fact, the wars which have caused them a lot of pain have taught them cruelty and heart strength. Thus, I pray to Allah the Almighty that they will remain steadfast in front of the greatest force that is facing them, God willing. I personally call on every brave and honest Iraqi not to forget his country Iraq and to remain a strong force in front of the hostile terrorist acts carried out by al-Qaeda and other cowardly organizations. I also pray Allah to protect Iraq from the north to the south so that the coming days will be the best. May Allah protect Iraq and Iraqis, O Lord of the Worlds!

  • موسى

    2012-3-12

    In my opinion, targeting civilians in Iraq by al-Qaeda groups is a very dangerous issue. It is the reason behind all these difficult, bitter, harsh and painful circumstances which affected Iraqis. So many people, including children, women, old men and women and the youth have been crippled and consequently, haven’t been able to go on with their lives normally. Therefore, such acts are considered most barbaric and heinous and al-Qaeda groups are never welcome on the land of Iraq because they are dangerous gangs and armed terrorist militias. They should be trampled down and eradicated. That is what they deserve.

  • اسماعبل هادي

    2012-3-12

    Shame on al-Qaeda for continuing the killing of civilians and innocent people in Iraq. Are the crimes that they have committed in the previous years, and the grief and pain which they caused in our country for many of our families that lost the most cherished because of al-Qaeda and its criminal acts, their bombings of civilians, not enough? This is a farce which indicates the cowardice of this organization and the dead conscience in each animal from the animals of al-Qaeda from among those who participated with Satan in his works and killing of the people. Every drop of blood that flowed from a Muslim who was a victim of acts of terrorism will be accountable. The fire of hell will be waiting for them, God willing, for what they have committed for their crimes, that had no justification because they are doing all this just for publicity for their organization and because they were present, but have no target. They themselves do not know why they do this because the killing of innocent people has nothing to do with liberation or jihad or the defense of Islam or controlling the country or anything, and not even hitting the politicians or bringing down the ruler. They are just criminal acts done to spread the culture of murder and sow division perhaps among the people to give a bad image about Islam and Muslim peoples. This is what al-Qaeda and the criminal dirty outlaw elements want.

  • امير صبحي

    2012-3-10

    The groups of al-Qaeda have carried out many terrorist attacks, such as bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, suicide bombings, displacement, killing of identity, sowing discord and factionalism among the Iraqi people, and causing infighting. All of this is done to impose control of the situation in Iraq, taking advantage of what happened in terms of chaos, confusion, instability, and lack of security and tranquility. Thus, they are always taking advantage of such aspects taking place in other countries to spread grudges among the people under the cover of religion. They claim Islam and jihad and they claim that they are doing all of this to defend religion but, in fact, they are groups, gangs and elements of the terrorist militia who are doing all this in order to get money and implicate a lot of young people who are used in order to carry out the implementation of the terrorist attacks against the innocent people. They do not want anything good for this nation and the proof of this is that they kill anyone, without discrimination among children, women, old and young people. They may enter through the door of one of the multiplicity of sects and religions in the same country. This allows them to distinguish between all the people and attack mosques and churches. They kill all of them so that there will be animosity between everyone, whether communities or religions, in order to weaken the Iraqi people. This is so that they can impose their control over Iraq and put their hands on everything. We ask God to save us from them forever and help Iraq to live in peace, security, stability, and calm.

  • وجدي شاكر

    2012-3-9

    Since the US-led invasion of Iraq, many armed groups, including al-Qaeda, have resorted to murdering thousands of civilian men, women and children through car bombs or suicide bombers. They have assassinated government officials and politicians, judges, journalists, and workers in the field of humanitarian assistance who are deemed to be collaborating with foreign forces in Iraq.

  • ابو سالم

    2012-3-8

    As far as I am concerned, the continuous targeting of civilians reveals the total failure of Al Qaeda to reach any target and carry out any quality terrorist operation. Thus, they carry out these operations which target the sons of our great people. We are saddened by such acts; those people are innocent and do not deserve to be killed in these massacres at the hands of these low people. What can we do? We can only say that God is our only helper and there is no power but from God. I say to Al Qaeda: “Your crimes will not continue and this is your ending in this giant country; you cannot and will never violate its people or erase its name. Iraq will remain in spite of you and whoever supports you. Iraq will resume its leading role in the region and will return quickly, as it was before. Iraq cannot be isolated or abandoned. These acts and attacks are no more but despicable crimes that reveal all your lies and dirtiness.”

  • مفيد جبران

    2012-3-2

    There are a lot of reasons that make al-Qaeda target civilians in Iraq, yet these reasons can never be justified. One of these reasons is the discriminatory behavior exhibited by al-Qaeda members; they refuse all forms of sectarian, religious and ethnic differences. This makes minorities attractive targets. Another reason is revenge. For example, when the Iraqi army carries out a security campaign against them, or when it arrests or executes a member of this organization, especially a leader, reprisals may follow, leading to killing and injuring hundreds of people as the members of this organization are blindly loyal to their leaders. As a result, they tend to commit suicide and blow themselves up among crowds in retaliation. Also, the good training Iraqi security forces and army received, and the strong fortification of army barracks and security centers are reasons which drive suicides to blow themselves up away from security centers and targeted barracks where terrorists are faced with fierce resistance that prevents them from carrying out their mission as planned.

  • هييثم ناصر

    2012-3-2

    Al-Qaeda has committed many violations in Iraq, including taking advantage of children and recruiting a lot of them, and instilling them with the alleged jihadist ideas. As a result, a lot of children drop out of schools and institutions and join recruitment camps, leaving behind their innocence and dreams of childhood. This threatens the future of Iraq since the future of any community is dependent on its children who are the men of the future. Therefore, it is necessary to solve this serious problem, which is pushing Iraq towards the abyss. Clerics play a great role in solving this problem by spreading the right religious culture based on love and on the renunciation of grudges and hatred. Media outlets also play a significant role in educating the community since they have an influential role in guiding public opinion, in cooperation with educational institutions, which include in their programs educational materials. However, the family has the most important role in monitoring, raising and protecting children from all types of temptations offered by this armed group.

  • احمد جمال

    2012-3-2

    Whoever bombs worshiping houses, kills unarmed civilians, plants bombs in cars and blows them up, detonates public facilities and institutions that are serving the daily interests of people and kills doctors and journalists who do their duties is not a jihadist. This is purely terrorism and is not jihad or resistance. Jihad in Islam doesn’t mean to terrorize people, intimidate them, shed their blood, demolish their houses, obstruct their interests and ruin their lives. Those are not advocates of jihad and resistance but callers for terrorism, destruction and corruption on earth. Therefore, those are labeled as criminals who should be chased and inflicted with the harshest penalties.

  • ايمن عبدالغني

    2012-3-2

    There are groups that carry out terrorist operations against innocent civilians under the name of jihad and resistance. These groups are not aware enough of what jihad is, when it should be and who it should be against. They don’t understand that what they do are crimes that are punishable rather than jihadist operations. These groups cause harm and damage to unarmed innocent civilians, terrorize them and spill their blood. They kill everyone and don’t differentiate between a woman, a child, or an old man. Jihad is resisting the occupier who occupies the land, kills innocents, bombs houses and worshiping houses and spreads corruption on earth.

  • نصيف خالد

    2012-3-1

    I call on the Iraqi security forces, which are a watchful eye on a mission to protect innocent people from terrorist attacks, to strike powerful terrorist organizations targeting the security and stability in the country. Also, to investigate and follow-up everywhere, especially sleeper cells that appear from time to time and commit serious criminal operations where the follow-up work and investigation will have a large positive impact on the scaling down of terrorist organizations, so that the citizen will enjoy a happier life, and security and joy will return to the families that suffer a lot due to criminal attacks because of which they have lost many loved ones and their children. I hope the security forces will continue to redouble their efforts to target terrorism and we call on them to carry out security campaigns to search for terrorists through military operations that will affect the heads of the evil killers and their slaves and criminals who are shedding blood without regard for the sanctity of life. Falsehood is short-lived and the heads of these rotten terrorists must be cut off.

  • الاسمر

    2012-3-1

    Attacks by al-Qaeda on civilians in Iraq which kill large numbers of innocent people in a brutal and inhumane way are inconsistent with social ethics, and thus the children of the community are affected by the loss and destruction of property and violation of the sanctity of the innocent civilians. Al-Qaeda terrorists practice their evil deeds on the innocent people in Iraq now and suffering as a result of fear and poverty suffered by the victims' families because of the murder of their parents or supporters. This is caused by cowardly terrorist acts that lead to the exposure of people to scourges because violence in the country at the same time has created humanitarian, economic, social, political and security gaps, that have affected all the country's infrastructure. This subject, which takes a wide dimension in Iraq, is a result of the spread of terrorist acts of al-Qaeda, which does not respect the lives of innocent people through their criminal practices: the implementation of mass killings and indiscriminate use of car bombs and explosive belts in various Iraqi cities in order to weaken the morale of the citizens. And also, these terrorists seek to spread corruption and misguidance among the people.

  • طه عبيد

    2012-2-28

    We are witnessing accursed days due to the terrorism of Al-Qaeda. In fact, this terrorist organization has committed many crimes against people through carrying out suicide operations. Besides, every security breach has claimed the lives of a large number of innocent victims. In fact, these terrorists have carried out their suicide operations among the innocent civilians who have lost their lives. I don’t know why these terrorists have carried out such operations. Is this a kind of success for them, to kill the largest possible number of civilians? What is this dirty thought? And why do they have no conscience? I’m very sad because of these miseries that have taken place in the country. During the last two days, we have witnessed other terrorist operations in the different provinces. And this has led to many martyrs among the civilians. This is in addition to people who were injured. In fact, I condemn all the terrorist operations in our beloved country. And we are no longer able to endure more bloodshed. These attacks can reveal the terrorists’ reality. In fact, this Takfiri organization has resorted to attacking the government and destroying the political process. Thus, they have resorted to killing people in order to create chaos. And this has proved their failure and cowardliness. In fact, the terrorist organization of al-Qaeda has feared targeting the government and the security forces, because they know that they cannot destroy the political process in the country. Thus, they have tried to sow discord among people.

  • كرار

    2012-2-26

    I swear the performance is illogical and defective. Many things are lacking and this allows the terrorists to carry out terrorist and criminal operations against the civilians and the innocents in our country during these bloody and black days that come to us from time to time, especially in Baghdad, which has remained out of the control of the security forces, despite their huge number and intensive deployment. However, the terrorists still can infiltrate the security barriers, and this is the weakness that must be dealt with. I am not speaking about the ability of the security forces to chase and arrest the terrorists, because they are doing well in this respect, as proved by the large number of terrorists who have been arrested. The real problem lies in the infiltration of the terrorists and their success in getting through with the car bombs through the checkpoints, strangely and suspiciously. We wake up in the morning to hear about an attack using more than ten car bombs in different areas in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad. These attacks left many victims among the citizens. This is really astonishing, because I do not know how all these booby-trapped cars managed to pass through the checkpoints. I also wonder about the role of the intelligence services, which must have information about any expected terrorist movement, to allow the security forces to interfere and stop them. Hence, I demand that the security forces impose stricter security measures, especially as to the car bombs and the terrorist movements to destabilize the security and kill the innocents in the country.

  • أبو صبيح

    2012-2-24

    If at first the civilian casualties were merely collateral damage in a campaign aimed at the United States Military and diplomatic personnel, civilians have since become the primary focus. Unable to wage a meaningful campaign against the Armed Forces of the United States, al-Qaeda began deliberately targeting innocent civilians with no regard for the sanctity of life, whether that life be western or Muslim. The attacks in New York on September 11, 2001 are the clearest example of a group determined to terrorize civilians all over the world. Al-Qaeda has no regard for human life. The slaughter of thousands of civilians across the religious spectrum has been carried out with not one iota of progression towards their stated aim of reducing the American influence.

  • قصي

    2012-2-24

    The American troops have been in Iraq since the year 2003 and now after years of keeping the country calm, they are going back home. This action will have both negative and positive effects. The minority groups in Iraq will feel threatened because now the majority will oppress them. Such minority groups are the Christian and small tribes in Iraq. Another negative impact is that the other nation will interfere with Iraq either in a positive or a negative way. Also, the withdrawal of the American troops will give way to the influence of the terrorist groups who will want to introduce their extremist ideologies. Maybe America withdrew from Iraq too soon but they have also given them a chance to govern themselves without outside interference and maybe now the terrorist groups will stop the frequent bombing inside their own country and focus on rebuilding their country. The negative impacts of their withdrawal will be felt much sooner other than the positives because now they are susceptible to manipulation by the giant economy which will want to partner with them because they are rich in oil deposits.