As the news spread of coordinated U.S. Navy SEAL strikes against Islamist leaders on either side of the African mainland, Islamists elsewhere were launching attacks of their own.
Iraq was rocked by a series of suicide bombings this weekend, Reuters reports. One bombing involved a truck loaded with explosives that was driven into a primary school playground in the northern region; in that attack, 14 children and the school headmaster perished.
An additional Saturday bombing targeted a group of Shi’ite pilgrims visiting a Baghdad religious site, killing 14 and wounding over 30 others.
No public claims of responsibility have been made for any of the recent attacks, although the tactics utilized cause local police to suspect Sunni-affiliated terrorists tied to al-Qaeda. The primary school bombing occurred mere minutes after a reported attack on a Tel Afar police station just 45 miles northwest of Mosul city, a known Islamist stronghold. In the police station attack, no injuries were reported. A Tel Afar city official who spoke on the condition of anonymity commented that “The fingerprints of al Qaeda are clear on both attacks.”
Meanwhile, deep in the Nigeria’s Borno state, the Islamists of the Boko Haram rebel group killed at least 20 when they assaulted the town of Damboa early Saturday morning. Five were executed at a mosque as they said their morning prayers.
In a statement given to Reuters, Nigerian military spokesman Captain Aliyu Danja said, “While they [the Islamists] were unleashing their mayhem, troops [with the Nigerian military] engaged the terrorists, killing 15 in the process while others fled.”
The military’s casualty counts for engagements with militant Islamists are frequently exaggerated and often unverifiable. Nigerian military forces have been waging an offensive against the Boko Haram rebels since May, but it remains the biggest security threat to the country. Traditionally known for targeting security forces as well as Christian and Muslim opponents, Boko Haram has recently conducted roadside massacres, and threatened Western schools considered sacrilegious.[Image via an AFP news report on YouTube about the Boko Haram Islamist faction]