Clearly, one of the goals behind the recent spate of deadly attacks against Iraqi civilians is to prevent the formation of a new, inclusive government. This tactic must not be allowed to succeed, because only by standing united against violent extremist groups and forming a unity government, one that represents all Iraqi citizens regardless of their ethnicity, religion or which part of the country they come from, can Iraq’s leaders begin to address its myriad problems.
The rash of killings began on August 22nd, when nearly 70 people died as gunmen entered a Sunni mosque and started to indiscriminately shot at the worshippers. On the following day, 42 people died in separate bombings in Kirkuk. Earlier that day, a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into the gate of the intelligence headquarters in Baghdad, killing six civilians and five security personnel. Two days later, in South Baghdad, a suicide bomber killed 15 Shia worshippers as they left a mosque after noon prayers, while two car bombs killed 6 in North Baghdad. Around the same time, two explosions in the Shi’ite holy city of Karbala and another one in Babel killed 26 and wounded 60.
The United States strongly condemns these vicious attack. We stand “with the people of Iraq against this violence, and will continue to support all Iraqi citizens, from all parts of the country, as they work to root out violent extremists from any sector of society, and promote a religiously tolerant, diverse, and unified country, as envisioned in the Iraqi Constitution,” said State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf.
These senseless attacks underscore the urgent need for Iraqi leaders from across the political spectrum to take the necessary steps that will help unify the country against all violent extremist groups. We call for unity in defiance of such attack, and urge all Iraqi leaders to complete the process of forming a new government on the constitutional timeline.
We express our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims of these senseless attacks, and call on the Government of Iraq to immediately investigate and bring to justice anyone shown to be behind these heinous crimes.