Iraq: Scores killed in apparent reprisal for al Sadr blasts

Published November 24th, 2006 - 05:40 GMT

A car bomb exploded in northern Iraq on Friday, killing at least 23 people and wounding 26, police said. It was the first major attack since bombings in Baghdad's Sadr City Shiite district killed more than 200 people on Thursday.


Friday's 11 a.m. explosion took place outside a car dealership in Tal Afar, 260 miles northwest of Baghdad.


Meanwhile, militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive as Iraqi troops stood by, while seven Sunni mosques came under attack as Shiites took revenge for the slaughter of at least 215 people in the Sadr City slum.


Members of the Mahdi Army militia burned four mosques and several homes while killing 12 other Sunni residents in the once-mixed Hurriyah neighborhood until American forces arrived, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.


The gunmen attacked the four mosques with rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and automatic rifles.


Later Friday, militiamen raided al-Samarraie Sunni mosque in the el-Amel district and killed two guards, police 1st. Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq said. Two other Sunni mosques in west Baghad also were attacked, police said.


Meanwhile, supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr warned they will suspend their membership in parliament and the Cabinet if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meets U.S. President George W. Bush in Jordan next week, a member of parliament said. Bush and al-Maliki were scheduled to meet Wednesday and Thursday in Amman.


"If the security situation and services don't improve, and if Mr. prime minister does not cancel his meeting with Bush the criminal in Jordan, we will suspend our membership at the Council of Deputies (parliament) and government," Qusai Abdul-Wahab, an al-Sadr follower, told the AP.


The politicians said U.S. forces were to blame for Thursday's bombings in Sadr City. "We say occupation forces are fully responsible for these acts, and we call for the withdrawal of occupation forces or setting a timetable for their withdrawal," Abdul-Wahab said.



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