2007 Yazidi communities bombings

The 2007 Yazidi communities bombings occurred on August 14, 2007, when four coordinated suicide car bomb attacks detonated in the Yazidi towns of Til Ezer (al-Qahtaniyah) and Siba Sheikh Khidir (al-Jazirah), in northern Iraq.

2007 Yazidi communities bombings
Part of the Iraq War
Location of Til Ezer (Kahtaniya)
LocationTil Ezer and Siba Sheikh Khidir, Nineveh Governorate, Iraq
DateAugust 14, 2007 (UTC+3)
Attack type
Suicide car bombs

There were 796 people killed and at least 1,500 others wounded,[1][2][3] making it the Iraq War's deadliest car bomb attack. It is also the fourth deadliest act of terrorism in history, after September 11 attacks in the United States, the Camp Speicher massacre in Iraq,[4] and the Mai Kadra massacre in Ethiopia. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Tensions and backgroundEdit

For several months leading up to the attack, tensions had been building up in the area, particularly between Yazidis and Sunni Muslims (both Arabs and Kurds). Some Yazidis living in the area received threatening letters calling them "infidels".[5] Leaflets were also distributed denouncing Yazidis as "anti-Islamic" and warning them that an attack was imminent.[6][7]

The attack was possibly connected with the murder of Du'a Khalil Aswad, a 17-year-old Yazidi girl, who was stoned to death by fellow Yazidis four months earlier. Aswad was believed to have wanted to convert in order to marry a Sunni.[8][9] Two weeks later, after a video of the stoning appeared on the Internet, Sunni gunmen[10] stopped minibuses filled with Yazidis; 23 Yazidi men were forced from a bus and shot dead.[11]

The Sinjar area, which has a mixed population of Yazidis, Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs, was scheduled to vote in a plebiscite on accession to the Kurdistan Region in December 2007. This caused hostility among the neighbouring Arab communities. A force of 600 Kurdish Peshmerga was subsequently deployed in the area, and ditches were dug around Yazidi villages to prevent further attacks.[12]


The bombings occurred at around 7:20 pm on August 14, 2007, when four co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks detonated in the Yazidi towns of Qahtaniyah and Jazeera (Siba Sheikh Khidir), near Mosul, Nineveh Governorate, northern Iraq. They targeted the Yazidis, a religious minority in Iraq,[13][14] using a fuel tanker and three cars. An Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman said that two tons of explosives were used in the blasts, which crumbled buildings, trapping entire families beneath mud bricks and other wreckage as entire neighborhoods were flattened. Rescuers dug underneath the destroyed buildings by hand to search for remaining survivors.[15]

"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," said Abdul-Rahim al-Shimari, mayor of the Baaj district, which includes the devastated villages.[16]

There were 796 people killed and at least 1,562 more wounded.[1][2][3]


No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Iraq's President, Jalal Talabani, accused Iraqi Sunni insurgents of the bombings, pointing at the history of Sunni violence against Yazidis. They were reported to have distributed leaflets denouncing Yazidis as "anti-Islamic".[17] Although the attacks carry al-Qaeda's signature of multiple simultaneous attacks, it is unclear why they would refrain from claiming responsibility for such a successful operation. "We're looking at Al-Qaeda as the prime suspect," said Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver, a United States military spokesman.[18]

On September 3, 2007, the U.S. military reportedly killed the suspected mastermind of the bombings, Abu Mohammed al-Afri.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Report of the United States Commission on Religious Freedom on Iraq (PDF) (Report). December 2008. p. 12. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Oehring, Otmar (2017). Christians and Yazidis in Iraq: Current Situation and Prospects. Kas.de. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. p. 15. ISBN 978-3-95721-351-8. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Atwan, Abdel Bari (2013). After Bin Laden: Al Qaeda, the Next Generation. The New Press. p. 215. ISBN 9781595588999.
  4. ^ "Worst terrorist strikes—worldwide". www.johnstonsarchive.net. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  5. ^ Arwa Damon, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Raja Razek, "Iraqi officials: Truck bombings killed at least 500," CNN.com Archived November 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "General Calls Attack on Yazidis 'Ethnic Cleansing'". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Minority targeted in Iraq bombings". 15 August 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2016 – via bbc.co.uk.
  8. ^ "Login". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  9. ^ "How suicide bombings shattered Iraq – Secret Iraq Files – Al Jazeera English". Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  10. ^ Stephen Farell, "Death Toll in Iraq Bombings Rises to 250", The New York Times (August 15, 2007).
  11. ^ Amnesty International (April 27, 2007). Iraq: Amnesty International appalled by stoning to death of Yezidi girl and subsequent killings Archived May 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Press release. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  12. ^ "Yazidis Live Among Reminders of Deadly Attack". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Deadly Iraq sect attacks kill 200". 15 August 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2016 – via bbc.co.uk.
  14. ^ Dozens killed in multiple suicide attacks in Iraq – CNN.com Archived August 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Iraqi Interior Ministry: 400 killed in suicide bombings in northern Iraq". 16 August 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Shiites, Kurds form alliance; 4 Iraqi kids found in rubble of bombed area - USATODAY.com". Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  17. ^ "Killings stoke tension in Iraq city", AlJazeera.net Archived August 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Al-Qaeda blamed for Yazidi carnage". Archived from the original on 1 November 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  19. ^ AFP: Qaeda militant behind deadliest Iraq attack killed: US Archived November 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine