Sunday, February 20, 2011

Iraqi Casualties Up In January 2011, Largely Due To Attacks Upon Shiite Pilgrims And Security Forces

Aftermath of funeral bombing in Baghdad, Jan. 27, 2011 (Associated Press)
January 2011 saw a large increase in deaths compared to the previous months. Iraq Body Count had 388 dead, Iraq’s ministries had 259, while icasualties recorded 210. That averaged out to 285 casualties for the month, and 9.2 deaths per day. In comparison, an average of 165 were killed in December 2010, and 215 in November. January had the highest casualty count since August when an average of 435 were killed. The major reason for the increase was attacks upon Shiite pilgrims.


Last 12 Months Iraqi Death Counts And Averages

Iraq Body Count 
Icasualties
Iraqi Ministries
Avg. Monthly Deaths
Avg. Daily Deaths 
Feb.10 
297
236 
352 
295
10.5
Mar. 
334 
183 
367 
294
9.5
Apr. 
380 
259 
328 
322
10.7
May 
377 
279 
337 
331
10.6
Jun. 
368 
176 
284 
276
9.2
Jul. 
430 
534 
535 
499
16.1
Aug. 
517 
363 
426 
435
14.0
Sep. 
252 
174 
273 
233
7.7
Oct. 
311
185 
293 
263
8.4
Nov. 
300
174 
171 
215 
7.1
Dec. 
217 
128 
151 
165
5.3
Jan. 11 
388
210 
259 
285
9.2 


January is the month of Arbaeen, when Shiites travel to the holy city of Karbala to visit the shrine of the Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Every year since 2003, Sunni militants have taken advantage of this event to carry out sectarian attacks. 2011 was no exception. Starting on January 20, three bombs packed into two cars and a motorcycle went off in Karbala killing 50, and wounding at least 150 others, a bomb in southern Baghdad killed one and left ten wounded, and a roadside explosive in Baquba, Diyala left one dead and ten more injured. On January 24, a car bomb went off in the morning in a parking lot used to unload pilgrims taking buses killing 6, and wounding 34 in eastern Karbala, followed by another blast in the south that left 20 dead, and 42 wounded. In those five attacks alone, 78 were left dead, and 246 wounded.

January also saw two large assaults upon the security forces, and a Shiite funeral. On January 18 a suicide bomber struck police recruits in Tikrit, Salahaddin killing 54, and wounding 137. The following day, a militant drove an ambulance packed with explosives into the Facilities Protection Services headquarters in Baquba leaving 5-12 dead, and 7 wounded. Finally, January 27, a booby-trapped car went off outside a funeral in northwest Baghdad leaving 51 dead, and 123 injured. That added another 117 fatalities, and 267 wounded to last month’s count.

January represents the ebb and flow in Iraq’s casualties. Monthly death counts go up and down every month, but have largely stayed at the same level since 2009. The previous month provided more opportunities for militants since hundreds of thousands of people were heading for Karbala for the religious ceremonies. Even then, there were higher death figures in the last twelve months. Overall, the insurgents lack the support and means to change the current status quo. That still means hundreds of people are killed each month, and even more are wounded. Unfortunately, that is the pattern that will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

SOURCES

Abdul-Kadir, Saad, “Iraq: Car bombs targeting Shiite pilgrims kill 26,” Associated Press, 1/24/11

Aswat al-Iraq, “Fresh attack on Shiite visitors in Baaquba, 11 casualties,” 1/20/11
- “IED kils, wounds 11 Shiite visitors in Baghdad,” 1/20/11

icasualties

Iraq Body Count

Jakes, Lara, “Bombs targeting Shi’ite pilgrims in Iraq kill 51,” Associated Press, 1/20/11

Juhl, Bushra, “Death toll reaches 51 day after Iraq funeral blast,” Associated Press, 1/28/11

Qeis, Ali and Sly, Liz, “Three bomb blasts kill 50 Shiite pilgrims in Iraq,” Washington Post, 1/20/11

Reuters, “Iraq war casualties rise in January,” 2/1/11

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