August 14, 2007: 800 killed and 1,500 injured by car bombings in Iraq

On this day in 2007, car bombs in northen Iraq targeting Yazidis exploded killing almost 800 people and injuring 1,500.

The Yazidis sure seem to have suffered a lot over the years: this day in 2007 was no different.

NEAR MOSUL, IRAQ – I would imagine that when it comes to persecuted communities many of us could easily come up with an all too long list. Tutsis in Rwanda in the early 1990s. Armenians in Turkey during WWI. The Jews just about anywhere, anytime over the past 2000 years.

I am really not sure what it is about certain groups that elicit such hate. I do know that it could be tied to the colour of one’s skin, the ethnicity one belongs to, or the god one worships. Humans are unfortunately too able to concoct any excuse to target another group for invective or even mass murder (i.e. genocide).

Another group that has engendered a lot of hate in recent years is that we call the Yazidis. They are an ancient people living primarily in what we call Iraq but have been around for a very long time, vastly predating the advent of Islam that dominates that part of the world. The Yazidis hew to a monotheistic religion that involves a fallen angel who is forgiven by God and sent to Earth to govern in His place.

Most of you are probably most familiar with the awful things done to the Yazidis by Islamic State (ISIS) under its so-called ‘Caliphate’ a few years back. Men were killed and women and girls forced into sexual slavery. Cultural artifacts were destroyed by terrorists who have one motto and one motto only: ‘My way or the highway’.

On this day in 2007

What you are likely less aware of is a series of car bombs that attacked these same Yazidis back in 2007, before ISIS morphed from Al Qaeda (AQ). 796 people were killed and 1,500 injured in what was the third largest terrorist attack in history. While no group claimed responsibility, Yazidi communities had been getting threatening letters calling them ‘infidels’. All in all four car bombs were detonated.

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.

Mayor of district where the affected villages are located

It is sad that we continue to target others for holding beliefs we disagree with. I’d like to think that we as humans can eventually get better. I am not optimistic.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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