Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 07:59 GMT

Bombings against Iraqi minorities 'an attempt to grab territory'

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 10 August 2009
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, Bombings against Iraqi minorities 'an attempt to grab territory', 10 August 2009, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) condemns the recent string of targeted bombings against minority communities in Iraq, including most recently a devastating attack on a Shabak village near Mosul on Monday that killed at least 23 people.

This attack follows earlier truck bombings in Shia Turkmen communities on Friday 7 August in northern Mosul, killing at least 37, and on 20 June in Taza Kurmatu, south of Kirkuk, killing over 70. The death toll in the latest bombing in the Shabak village of Khaznah is expected to rise further.

A series of car bombs also targeted five Shia mosques in Baghdad last week, killing at least 27. They were condemned by the UN Secretary-General as an attempt to provoke further sectarian violence.

‘The bombings of minority communities near Mosul and Kirkuk are more than just an expression of religious hatred,' said Mark Lattimer, MRG's Executive Director. ‘They are a deliberate attempt to grab control over contested territory in northern Iraq by pushing out the minorities who live there.'

Both Sunni Arab and Kurdish forces seek to control the Nineveh plain around Mosul. In recent provincial elections, political control of Nineveh Governorate passed from Kurdish to Arab parties. However, minorities living there seek greater autonomy over their own affairs. Kirkuk is also contested between Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen communities.

‘Minorities including the Shabak, Turkmen, Yezidis and Assyrian Christians in Iraq cannot organize their own security protection, yet time and again the Iraqi security forces have proved incapable of protecting them,' added Mr Lattimer.  

The Shabak are a small, mostly Shia minority in northern Iraq who, along with other minorities, were repressed under Saddam Hussein but have suffered intimidation and deadly attacks since. See MRG's report: ‘Assimilation, Exodus, Eradication: Iraq's minority communities since 2003'.

Iraq was listed as the second most dangerous place in the world for minorities in MRG's annual global listing of Peoples Under Threat released in June.

For interview opportunities with MRG's Executive Director, Mark Lattimer, contact MRG's Media Officer Emma Eastwood T: +44 207 422 4205 E:



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