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Iraq's Ethnic Minorities Face Obliteration

Doctors in hospitals treating victims of the latest bomb blasts -- believed to have targeted the Yazidi community in northwestern Iraq -- have asked for medical supplies to be delivered urgently.

"We need all kinds of emergency materials but especially plasters, cotton wool and painkillers to help victims who have lost limbs or have serious cuts," said Dr Dirar Muhammad, who has been working overtime at Dahuk hospital.

A doctor in a clinic near Qahataniya, where some of the attacks took place, said they were ill-equipped and only two doctors were available. This was forcing the injured to be diverted to Dahuk hospital, he said.

"Since yesterday [August 14], after the first victims were brought in, civilians have been bringing in body parts from the streets," Muhammad said.

"Needles and antibiotics are also urgently needed because without them, patients who have lost limbs could get serious infections and die within days," he added.

According to the local police, the death toll is now 250 but few bodies have been buried; many victims were blown to pieces. The final toll could be as high as 500.

"Some experts have come from Baghdad to help us determine which body parts belong to which bodies," Col Ahmed Salem, a senior officer in the local police said. "At least 40 patients are in a critical situation and, according to doctors, could die at any moment, thus increasing the death toll.

Four suicide bombers struck almost simultaneously in northwestern Iraq where many Yazidis live, late on 14 August. Some 300 people have been injured.

The death toll is the highest in a concerted attack since November 23, when 215 people were killed by mortars and five car bombs in Baghdad's Sadr City, a predominantly Shia area.

The Yazidis, considered by some Muslims to be infidels, have never suffered so many casualties in suicide bombings to date. Recently a member of their community who had converted to Islam and absconded with a boyfriend, was killed by relatives.

"We are paying for the bad behavior of a few Yazidis," said Hayet Imad, a 34-year-old Yazidi who has lost a sister and a son in the attacks. "They will obliterate our community. I'm sure this is just the beginning. I hope after this attack the government will realise that we need special protection."

© IRIN 2007

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Albion Monitor   August 15, 2007   (

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