Foreign Policy Blogs

Violence rages as rockets are aimed at British base

64 people were killed and over 100 more were wounded when what are believed to be two female suicide bombers detonated their payloads on Friday morning. The first was in a market in central Baghdad, which killed 46 people and wounded 82, and the second detonated in a market in southeastern Baghdad with 18 killed and 25 wounded.

In other news, rockets were aimed at a British base in Basra, at the airport. Two British soldiers were wounded, and according to Capt. Finn Aldrich, many more Iraqi casualties were reported. There are no numbers on the Iraqis as of yet. The British withdrew from Basra city for the most part back in September of 2007, and only officially handed the entire province back over to the Iraqis on December 16th, 2007. Before the pull out, the province's police chief Major General Khalaf, had warned (dismissing fears for his own safety) that not only were his own ranks infiltrated by sectarian militants, but that the religious officials themselves were not doing enough to stop the bloodshed. He bluntly said that the they needed to encourage the militants to stop the violence. His outspokenness has earned him many assassination attempts, a larger one having wounded four of his guards in November of 2007. More to come on the nature of the intra-sectarian violence that permeates Basra in an upcoming post.