OFFICIALS say as many as 500 Kurdish Yazidi probably
died in a series of coordinated truck bombings that
devastated two northern Iraqi Kurdish villages.
Mosul, Northern Iraq, -- Four massive truck bombs
killed at least 330 people on Tuesday in two
villages in a Kurdish-speaking area near the Syrian
border in the province of Nineveh, destroying houses
and sending hundreds of wounded to at least six
hospitals as far as 150 miles away, the Iraqi
"Half the houses are completely collapsed because
they were made from clay," said Capt. Mohammed Ahmad
of the Iraqi army's 3rd Division. He said scores of
families were obliterated in the blast that wiped
out a market and a bus station.
The attacks in the villages of Al-Qahtaniya and Al-Adnaniyah
killed more than 500 people and wounded hundreds,
Most of the victims in Tuesday's attacks were
reportedly from the Kurdish Yazidi sect, who number
some 350,000 in the area around Mosul speak a
dialect of Kurdish but follow a pre-Islamic religion
and have their own cultural traditions.
Another Iraqi officer described the scene as
apocalyptic: "It looks like a nuclear bomb hit the
villages," he said.
The bombs -- including at least one rigged to a fuel
tanker -- detonated in quick succession in Qahtaniya
and Jazeera, towns 125 kilometres west of Mosul,
filled mostly with Kurdish Yazidis, Kurdish-speaking
adherents of a pre-Islamic religion.
The group has
long been a minority in Iraq, and after some Yazidis
stoned a Yazidi woman to death in April for dating a
Sunni Arab man, Yazidis have been frequent targets
of Sunni attacks. Many Yazidis have moved to
villages farther west,www.ekurd.netwhere they comprise a local
A 23 Yazidis were slain in April by gunmen
who apparently targeted them among passengers on a
bus in northern Iraq.
"I gave blood. I saw many maimed people with no legs
or hands," said Ghassan Salim, a 40-year-old Yazidi
teacher who went to a hospital to donate blood for
survivors. "Many of the wounded were left in the
hospital garage or in the streets because the
hospital is small."
The center of the Yazidi faith is around Mosul, but
smaller communities exist in Turkey, Syria and other
The deadly assault on Tuesday crushed the hope that
there would be safety in numbers -- especially near
the border with Syria, which U.S. officials have
long described as an entry point for foreign
The blasts capped one of the worst days of violence
in months and raised further questions about whether
the U.S. military effort has pushed insurgents into
less populated areas.
Witnesses to the suicide attacks said U.S.
helicopters swooped in to help evacuate wounded to
hospitals in Duhok city in Kurdistan autonomous
region, a Kurdish city near the Turkish border.
Civilian cars and ambulances also rushed injured to
hospitals in Duhok, police said.
There was no claim of responsibility, but the attack
bore the hallmark of al-Qaida in Iraq, which has
been regrouping in the north after being driven from
havens in Anbar and Diyala provinces.
White House denounces Iraq bombings against
The Bush administration denounced the bombings as
"barbaric attacks on innocent civilians," White
House deputy press secretary Dana Perino expressed
sympathy to the families of those killed or wounded.
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