Monday, January 22, 2007

Carnage in Iraq as sectarian violence increases

The civilian death toll in Iraq continues to rise despite the execution of Saddam Hussein and other prominent figures. This weekend has also seen further coalition casualties. On Saturday several attacks on coalition troops left more than a dozen dead. Thirteen US troops died when their helicopter was downed by hostile fire north-east of Baghdad and a further 5 were killed in gun battles in Karbala, soutyh of the capital. It brings the US death toll to 3,054 since hostilities begun [BBC]. A British soldier was also killed over the weekend by a roadside bomb near Basra. Private Michael Tench became the 130th British soldier to be killed in the country. But civilians still suffer the most in this war torn country gripped by sectarian violence [Facts & figures].

Today saw one of the deadliest attacks so far this year. At least 80 were killed and more than 150 injured in a double car bombing in one of Baghdad’s poorest districts [BBC/CNN]. Later in the day another bombing occurred in Baquba. Early reports suggested around 40 injured. There seems to be no slowing of the violence besides initiatives by Iraqi police and coalition forces to break up insurgent groups. Less than a week ago 70 died in an attack at Baghdad University this on a day that the UN announced the death toll in Iraq throughout the country in 2006 exceeded 34,000 [BBC]. George W Bush’s plan to send 20,000 troops to the country to quell the violence has been met with much criticism, both from his own party as well as the Democratic Party. His recently appointed Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, broadly supported the bolstering of troop numbers but said he wanted it increased to 90,000 [Bush speech in full].

No comments: