Four suicide bombers hit Kurdish Yazidi communities with nearly simultaneous attacks on Tuesday, killing at least 175 people and wounding 200 others, said Iraqi military and local officials in northwest Iraq.Michael Totten had been to this part of Iraq back in April. Totten's reporting from this region showed an area of Iraq that few media types visited because life there was so ordinary and routine.
The death toll was the highest in a concerted attack since Nov. 23, when 215 people were killed by mortar fire and five car bombs in Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City.
The bombs tore through the districts near Qahataniya, 75 miles west of Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, said Abdul-Rahman al-Shimiri, the top government official in the area, and Iraq army Capt. Mohammed Ahmed.
They said at least 30 homes were destroyed in the bombings.
Yazidis are members of an ancient, primarily Kurdish, religious sect that worships an angel figure some that Christians and Muslims believe to be the devil.
Dhakil Qassim, mayor of Sinjar, a town near the attacks, said al-Qaida in Iraq was behind the bombings, citing what he said were Kurdish government intelligence reports.
"This is a terrorist act and the people targeted are poor Yazidis who have nothing to do with the armed conflict," Qassim said. "Al-Qaida fighters are very active in this area near the Syrian border."
All that changed with those bombs. The Peshmerga that operate in Northern Iraq are not going to take this lying down. Their homeland has been savaged, and they will hunt down those al Qaeda remnants in the North.
The death toll from these suicide bombings continues to rise. CNN estimates that more than 500 Yezidi were slaughtered by al Qaeda.