Iraq: February 1, 2004


Suicide bombers attacked the headquarters of the two Kurdish political parties (KDP and PUK) that control northern Iraq, killing 60 and wounding over 300. The two bombers were dressed as Islamic clerics and were not searched because it was a religious holiday and the part headquarters were open to receive well wishers. No one took credit for the attack, but terrorist Ansar al-Islam is thought to be responsible. This group is affiliated with al Qaeda and is composed of Kurds who trained in al Qaeda camps and believe that the world should be converted to a strict form of Islam. For years, Ansar was allowed to take refuge in Iranian camps. But in the last few years they have been trying to establish control of Kurdish villages in northern Iraq by converting the villagers to their way of thinking. They have not been very successful, and were driven out last year by an attack of Kurdish forces and American Special Forces. While Ansar is composed of Kurds, their cause has little appeal among most Kurds. But Ansar believes they are on a mission from God, so this justifies the use of terror and murder to compel Kurds to change their attitudes. It's up to the Kurds to take care of Ansar, and after this attack, they have plenty of incentive.


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