Thursday, April 25, 2013

On Bush Library Dedication Day, At Least 41 Die In Iraq

On the day of the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, new fighting in Iraq provided a grim reminder of the Bush legacy. A decade after "Shock and Awe" and Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech, the divisions opened up by the invasion of Iraq persist with at least 41 dead today in renewed ethnic strife:

At least 41 people died Thursday on the third straight day of pitched fighting between Iraqi security forces and Sunni Arabs, as Prime Minister Nouri Maliki warned the country was in crisis.

The national police battled back Sunni fighters in the northern city of Mosul, long a bastion of the insurgency, where individuals took up arms after security forces opened fire early Tuesday on an encampment of Sunni protesters in the city of Hawija in Kirkuk province.

The violence this week ended four months of largely peaceful Sunni protests centered on the group’s alleged mistreatment by Iraq’s Shiite Muslim-led government. Confrontations occurred across Sunni regions of Iraq.

At least 31 Sunni gunmen were killed in Mosul on Thursday, said Mehdi Sabah Gharrawi, a national police commander. Ten police officers also were killed, military sources said. The sides had been fighting for control of four neighborhoods in east Mosul for three days, and gunmen held a police station before being repelled.

The death toll around the country reached as high as 179 by some accounts, with authorities saying 50 people died in Hawija and other parts of Kirkuk province Tuesday.


Image: Residents carry a coffin during the funeral of an Iraqi soldier in Hawija.

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