2007 Yazidi communities bombings

2007 Yazidi communities bombings

Location of Kahtaniya in Iraq
Location Kahtaniya and Jazeera, Iraq
Date August 14, 2007 (UTC+3)
Target Yazidis
Attack type
Car bombs
Deaths 500+[1]
Non-fatal injuries
Suspected perpetrators
Likely Al-Qaeda in Iraq (U.S. suspicion).[2][3]

The 2007 Yazidi communities bombings occurred at around 7:20 pm local time on August 14, 2007, when four co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks detonated in the Yazidi towns of Kahtaniya and Jazeera (Siba Sheikh Khidir), near Mosul.

Iraqi Red Crescent's estimated, one week afterward, the bombs killed at least 500 and wounded 1,500 people,[1][4] making this the Iraq War's most deadly car bomb attack. It was also the second deadliest act of terrorism in history, following only behind the September 11 attacks in the United States.[5]

Tensions and background

For several months leading up the attack, tensions had been building up in the area, particularly between Yazidis and Sunni Muslims (Muslims including Arabs and Kurds). Some Yazidis living in the area received threatening letters calling them "infidels".[6] Leaflets were also distributed denouncing Yazidis as "anti-Islamic" and warning them that an attack was imminent.[7][8]

The attack might be connected to an incident wherein Du’a Khalil Aswad, a 17-year-old Yazidi girl, was stoned to death. Aswad was believed to have wanted to convert in order to marry a Sunni.[9][10] Two weeks later, after a video of the stoning appeared on the Internet, Sunni gunmen[11] stopped minibuses filled with Yazidis; 23 Yazidi men were forced from a bus and shot dead.

The Sinjar area which has a mixed population of Yazidis, Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs was scheduled to vote in a plebiscite on accession to the Kurdish region in December 2007. This caused hostility among the neighbouring Arab communities. A force of 600 Kurdish Peshmerga was subsequently deployed in the area, and ditches were dug around Yazidi villages to prevent further attacks.[12]


The blasts targeted the Yazidi, a religious minority in Iraq.[13][14] The coordinated bombings involved a fuel tanker and three cars. An Iraqi interior ministry spokesman said that two tons of explosives were used in the blasts, which crumbled buildings, trapping entire families beneath mud bricks and other wreckage as entire neighborhoods were flattened. Rescuers dug underneath the destroyed buildings by hand to search for remaining survivors.[15]

"Hospitals here are running out of medicine. The pharmacies are empty. We need food, medicine and water otherwise there will be an even greater catastrophe," said Abdul-Rahim al-Shimari, mayor of the Baaj district, which includes the devastated villages.[16]


No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Iraq's President, Jalal Talabani, accused Iraqi Sunni insurgents of the bombings, pointing at the history of Sunni violence against Yazidis.. They were reported to have distributed leaflets denouncing Yazidis as "anti-Islamic".[17] Although the attacks carry Al-Qaeda's signature of multiple simultaneous attacks, it is unclear why they would refrain from claiming responsibility for such a successful operation. "We're looking at Al-Qaeda as the prime suspect," said Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver, a United States military spokesman.[18]

On September 3, 2007, the U.S. military reportedly killed the mastermind of the bombings, Abu Mohammed al-Afri.[19]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Toll in Iraq Bombings Is Raised to More Than 500". Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  2. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 8 August 2015.
  3. "Al-Qaeda blamed for Yazidi carnage". The Scotsman. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  4. Reuters AlertNet - FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Jan 20
  5. http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/terrorism/wrjp255i.html
  6. Arwa Damon, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Raja Razek, "Iraqi officials: Truck bombings killed at least 500," CNN.com Archived November 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. "General Calls Attack on Yazidis 'Ethnic Cleansing'". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  8. "Minority targeted in Iraq bombings". 15 August 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2016 via bbc.co.uk.
  9. "Login". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  10. "How suicide bombings shattered Iraq - Secret Iraq Files - Al Jazeera English". Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  11. Stephen Farell, "Death Toll in Iraq Bombings Rises to 250", New York Times (August 15, 2007).
  12. "Yazidis Live Among Reminders of Deadly Attack". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  13. "Deadly Iraq sect attacks kill 200". 15 August 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2016 via bbc.co.uk.
  14. Dozens killed in multiple suicide attacks in Iraq - CNN.com Archived August 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. "Iraqi Interior Ministry: 400 killed in suicide bombings in northern Iraq". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  16. "Shiites, Kurds form alliance; 4 Iraqi kids found in rubble of bombed area - USATODAY.com". Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  17. "Killings stoke tension in Iraq city", AlJazeera.net Archived August 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. "Al-Qaeda blamed for Yazidi carnage". Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  19. AFP: Qaeda militant behind deadliest Iraq attack killed: US Archived November 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
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