Saturday saw Iraq yet again slammed with violence. Xinhua reports journalists Mohammed Karim al-Badrani and Mohammed Ghanim were conducting interviews for al-Sharqiyah TV when unknown assailants shot them dead in Mosul. Xinhua notes, “The Iraqi Journalists Syndicate condemned in a statement the assassination and demanded that the security forces bring the criminals to justice and provide protection to journalists.” Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) describes al-Sharqiyah as “a private, pro-Sunni television station that is often critical of the Shiite-led government”
Censor is what Nouri al-Maliki tries to do to the Iraq media. Ali Musa (Al Mada) reports that Nouri’s forces shut down the local radio in Balad — the last station — accusing it of being a mouthpiece for the poor. (Yes, the police really said that and, yes, they seem to think there can be no greater horror than giving a voice to the poor.) For this ‘crime,’ the radio station was surrounded after the sun went down by the police who quickly took over the station and shut it down. This is the country, Ali Musa reminds, where over 360 journalists have been killed since 2003. The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi journalist organization, noted in this year’s report that 2012 was the worst year for Iraqi journalists since Saddam Hussein was overthrown (by foreign invaders).
Nouri has repeatedly sent the message from the top that it is open season on journalists. You kill a journalist? Nouri’s forces don’t even look for you.
That wasn’t the only violence. Kareem Raheem, Raheem Salman, Ghazwan Hassan, Isabel Coles and Ralph Boulton (Reuters) report, “In Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at a checkpoint, killing 48 Shi’ite pilgrims on their way to visit a shrine in the Kadhimiya district, police and medical sources said. Earlier on Saturday, another suicide bomber blew himself up inside a cafe in a mainly Shi’ite town of Balad, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, killing 12 people. The cafe was targeted in an almost identical bombing 40 days ago.” Of the Baghdad bombing, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) adds, “The bomber, wearing an explosive vest, detonated among Shiite pilgrims near the al-Amma bridge in the Sunni al-Adhamiya neighborhood.” National Iraqi News Agency reports the death toll rose to 51 and 107 people were left injured.
That passed as the deadliest violence but that also wasn’t the only reported violence. NINA notes a Mosul roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers with three more left injured, armed clashes in Mosul left 2 bystanders and 1 police officer dead, a Yusufiya roadside bombing claimed the lives of 3 Sahwa with four more left injured, Babil’s Lt Govenor Jolan Wiwit was shot on his way to his Hilla home (he was left injured), 1 person was shot dead in Falluja, and a Falluja armed attack left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and four police officers injured. BBC News adds, “the defence ministry said security forces had killed five militants in clashes in Baiji, and two more in the northern province of Nineveh.” And the Latin American Herald Tribune notes, “Also in the capital [Baghdad], one civilian died and another 10 were injured when a bomb exploded near a popular cafe in the southwest district.”
In the first four days of this new month (that would be through Friday), Iraq Body Count counts 83 violent deaths. Al Jazeera notes, “Violence has reached a level unseen since 2008, and there are fears Iraq may relapse into the kind of intense Sunni-Shia bloodshed that peaked in 2006-2007 and killed tens of thousands of people.”
Just today, there were at least 83 reported deaths (count the above). In the fifth day of the month, the death toll matched the toll for the first four days added together.
The following community sites — plus Cindy Sheehan, Chocolate City, PBS’ The NewsHour, Susan’s On the Edge, Jody Watley, Antiwar.com, Pacifica Evening News, War News Radio and Latino USA — updated since yesterday evening:
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