RealNews

Kurds blame al-Qa'ida for bombing that brought terror to tranquil northern Iraq

Fear has taken hold of the Kurdish city of Arbil. The streets empty quickly after dark. At night, there are police checkpoints every few hundred metres. Strangers are tailed by undercover police. The Kurdish north used to be just about the calmest place in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein but that has changed since a series of suicide attacks in Arbil that culminated in last week’s double bombing here, which killed at least 101 people. The Kurdish authorities said at least one of the two suicide bombers that evening was a foreigner from outside Iraq. They believed al-Qa’ida was involved, though they have not offered any evidence. One man, a Jordanian, has been arrested in the nearby city of Kirkuk, but the Kurds said they have not yet established any link between him and the bombing. It was the biggest suicide bombing Iraq has seen in terms of casualties since the occupation began – the first to kill more than 100 – yet it came in the last place anybody expected it. The Kurdish north was, until a couple of months ago, spared the suicide bombings that have plagued Baghdad and the Sunni Arab heartlands. Full Story

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