|2007 Yazidi communities bombings|
Location of Qahtaniyah, Iraq
|Location||Qahtaniyah and Jazeera, Iraq|
|Date||August 14, 2007 (UTC+3)|
|Likely al-Qaeda in Iraq (U.S. suspicion)|
The 2007 Yazidi communities bombings occurred on August 14, 2007, when four coordinated suicide bomb attacks detonated in the Yazidi towns of Til Ezer (al-Qahtaniyah) and Siba Sheikh Khidir (al-Jazirah), near Mosul in Iraq.
A suicide attack is any violent attack in which the attacker accepts their own death as a direct result of the method used to harm, damage or destroy the target. Suicide attacks have occurred throughout history, often as part of a military campaign such as the Japanese kamikaze pilots of World War II, and more recently as part of terrorist campaigns, such as the September 11 attacks.
Til Ezer is a Yazidi village located in the Sinjar District of the Ninawa Governorate in northern Iraq. The village is located south of the Sinjar Mount. It belongs to the disputed territories of Northern Iraq. It was one of two villages targeted in the 2007 Yazidi communities bombings against the local Yazidi community.
Siba Sheikh Khidir is a Yazidi village located in the Sinjar District of the Ninawa Governorate in northern Iraq. The village is located south of the Sinjar Mount. It belongs to the disputed territories of Northern Iraq. It was one of two villages targeted in the 2007 Yazidi communities bombings against the local Yazidi community.
796 people were killed and at least 1,500 people wounded,making this the Iraq War's most deadly car bomb attack. It is also the third deadliest act of terrorism in history, following behind the 2014 Camp Speicher massacre in Iraq, and the September 11 attacks in the United States. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 or more Iraqis were killed in the first three to four years of conflict. In 2009, official US troops were withdrawn, but American soldiers continued to remain on the ground fighting in Iraq, hired by defence contractors and private military companies. The U.S. became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition; the insurgency and many dimensions of the civil armed conflict continue. The invasion occurred as part of a declared war against international terrorism and its sponsors under the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush following the unrelated September 11 terrorist attacks.
The September 11 attacks were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. Additional people died of 9/11-related cancer and respiratory diseases in the months and years following the attacks.
For several months leading up to the attack, tensions had been building up in the area, particularly between Yazidis and Sunni Muslims (Muslims including Arabs and Kurds). Some Yazidis living in the area received threatening letters calling them "infidels".Leaflets were also distributed denouncing Yazidis as "anti-Islamic" and warning them that an attack was imminent.
Yazidis are a mostly Kurmanji-speaking ethnoreligious group, or an ethnic Kurdish minority indigenous to Iraq, Syria and Turkey who are strictly endogamous. A sizeable part of the autochthonous Yazidi population of Turkey fled the country for present-day Armenia and Georgia starting from the late 19th century. There are additional communities in Russia and Germany due to recent migration.
The attack might be connected to an incident wherein Du’a Khalil Aswad, a 17-year-old Yazidi girl, was stoned to death by the Yazidis. Aswad was believed to have wanted to convert in order to marry a Sunni.Two weeks later, after a video of the stoning appeared on the Internet, Sunni gunmen stopped minibuses filled with Yazidis; 23 Yazidi men were forced from a bus and shot dead.
Du'a Khalil Aswad was a 17-year-old Iraqi girl of the Yazidi faith who was stoned to death in northern Iraq in early April 2007, the victim of an honor killing. It is believed that she was killed around 7 April 2007, but the incident did not come to light until video of the stoning, apparently recorded on multiple cell phones, appeared on the Internet. The rumor that the stoning was connected to her alleged conversion to Islam prompted reprisals against Yazidis by Sunnis, including the 2007 Mosul massacre.
The 2007 Mosul massacre was a mass killing that took place on April 23, 2007 in Mosul, in northern Iraq. A bus carrying workers from the Mosul Textile Factory was hijacked by unidentified attackers. The attackers checked the passengers' identity cards, telling Muslims and Christians to get off the bus. They then drove the bus to eastern Mosul with 23 remaining passengers, all Yazidis, where the hostages were made to lie face down in front of a wall and shot.
The Sinjar area which has a mixed population of Yazidis, Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs was scheduled to vote in a plebiscite on accession to the Kurdish region in December 2007. This caused hostility among the neighbouring Arab communities. A force of 600 Kurdish Peshmerga was subsequently deployed in the area, and ditches were dug around Yazidi villages to prevent further attacks.
Sinjar, also known as Shingal is a town in Shingal District, Nineveh Governorate, Iraq near Mount Shingal. Its population in 2013 was estimated at 88,023. The town is inhabited by Yazidis and is one of the main settlement areas of the Yazidis.
Kurds are an Iranian ethnic group native to Western Asia. Geographically, this mostly mountainous area, known as Kurdistan includes southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria. There are also exclaves of Kurds in central Anatolia and Khorasan. Additionally, there are significant Kurdish diaspora communities in the cities of western Turkey, in particular Istanbul, while a Kurdish diaspora has developed in Western Europe, primarily in Germany. Numerically, the Kurds are estimated to number anywhere from a low of 30 million, to possibly as high as 45 million.
The Iraqi Turkmen, also referred to as Iraqi Turks, or Turks of Iraq, are Iraqi citizens of Turkic origin who mostly adhere to a Turkish heritage and identity. Most Iraqi Turkmen are the descendants of the Ottoman soldiers, traders and civil servants who were brought into Iraq from Anatolia during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Despite the popular reference to the Turks of Iraq as "Turkmen", they are not directly related to the Turkmen people of Turkmenistan and do not identify as such.
The bombings occurred at around 7:20 pm local time on August 14, 2007, when four co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks detonated in the Yazidi towns of Qahtaniyah and Jazeera (Siba Sheikh Khidir), near Mosul. They targeted the Yazidi, a religious minority in Iraq,using a fuel tanker and three cars. An Iraqi interior ministry spokesman said that two tons of explosives were used in the blasts, which crumbled buildings, trapping entire families beneath mud bricks and other wreckage as entire neighborhoods were flattened. Rescuers dug underneath the destroyed buildings by hand to search for remaining survivors.
Mosul is a major city in northern Iraq. Located approximately 400 km (250 mi) north of Baghdad, Mosul stands on the west bank of the Tigris, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank. The metropolitan area has grown to encompass substantial areas on both the "Left Bank" and the "Right Bank", as the two banks are described by the locals compared to the flow direction of Tigris.
"Hospitals here are running out of medicine. The pharmacies are empty. We need food, medicine and water otherwise there will be an even greater catastrophe," said Abdul-Rahim al-Shimari, mayor of the Baaj district, which includes the devastated villages.
796 people were killed and at least 1,562 more wounded.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Iraq's President, Jalal Talabani, accused Iraqi Sunni insurgents of the bombings, pointing at the history of Sunni violence against Yazidis. They were reported to have distributed leaflets denouncing Yazidis as "anti-Islamic".Although the attacks carry al-Qaeda's signature of multiple simultaneous attacks, it is unclear why they would refrain from claiming responsibility for such a successful operation. "We're looking at Al-Qaeda as the prime suspect," said Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver, a United States military spokesman.
On September 3, 2007, the U.S. military reportedly killed the suspected mastermind of the bombings, Abu Mohammed al-Afri.
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