Military Wiki
2011 Tikrit assault (29 March)[1]
Part of Al-Qaeda in Iraq [1]
Cities where journalists were killed in 2011
2011 Tikrit assault (Iraq)
Location Tikrit, Iraq [1]
Coordinates 34° 35' 48" North, 43° 40' 37" East[2]
Date March 29, 2011 (2011-03-29)-
March 29, 2011 (2011-03-29)
1:00 p.m. - 6 p.m. (UTC+3; Arabia Standard Time (AST)[3])
Target Tikrit politicians [4]
Attack type
shootings, bombings, suicide bombings, siege
Weapons guns, bombs, grenades, suicide belts
Deaths 65 [5]
Non-fatal injuries
100 [5]
Victim politicians, citizens, journalists
Assailants 6-8 insurgents from Al-Qaeda in Iraq

The 2011 Tikrit assault was an attack by Al-Qaeda in Iraq that took place in the city of Tikrit, Iraq, on the 29 March 2011, while the war was still ongoing. Reuters news agency included the attack in its list of deadliest attacks in 2011.[6] The Al-Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility[1] for killing 65 people and wounding over 100.[5] At the time the United States Armed Forces were withdrawing. Tikrit was Saddam Hussein's birthplace.

Description of Incident

On 29 March 2011, gunmen from Al-Qaeda in Iraq wearing suicide belts[1] hidden under military uniforms entered Tikrit, Iraq. The men presented themselves as Iraqi soldiers when they arrived at the security checkpoint. After being told they needed to be searched, they open fired on the guards. Around 1 p.m., attackers blew up a car to create a diversion by the council headquarters.[5] Following the car bombing, the gunmen proceeded to take control over the second floor of the Saladin provincial council's headquarters.[7] The provincial council meets every Tuesday, but according to Ali Abdul Rihman, a spokesperson for the governor, the local politicians had ended the meeting early because there was little to cover on their agenda. Therefore many had already left the building.[7] The gunmen did execute three councilmen, including Abdullah Jebara who was an outspoken critic of Al-Qaeda and terrorists, with shots to their heads and set fire to their bodies in front of the hostages.[4][8] Insurgents were still carrying out attacks during the U.S. withdrawal and the transfer of powers to the Iraqis.[4] As security reinforcements were arriving, another car bomb went off at the entrance of the council building.[5] A five hour standoff ensued.[4] Ahmed Abdullah, Salahuddin's governor, explained a fierce shootout between what he believed to be at least eight gunmen that had taken over the council building, hurling grenades at the Iraqi security forces that surrounded the building.[7] Fifteen hostages were killed execution style during the captivity.[9] The attack also killed two journalists, who were Sabah al-Bazi and Muammar Khadir Abdelwahad. Both journalists were covering a provincial council meeting. Iraqi Army forces together with US troops stormed the building, at which point the attackers blew up their explosives, which brought an end to the standoff.[7][10] The bodies of six attackers were taken to the hospital where sources say the cause of death for two of the bodies had occurred from detonating their vest, while the other four deaths were the result of gun shot wounds.[11] Several U.S. troops were said to have been wounded by a military spokespersonn.[8] This incident killed 65 people and wounded 100.[5]

Several days later Al-Qaeda in Iraq officially claimed credit for the attack.[12]

Casualties in journalism

Sabah al-Bazi

Sabah al-Bazi, 30, died as a result of shrapnel from the bombing. He was assigned to cover a provincial council meeting that day. He worked for Al-Arabiya, CNN, Reuters and other international media as a freelance journalist. Al-Bazi was married and had three children.[13]

Muammar Khadir Abdelwahad

Muammar Khadir Abdelwahad, 39, also died during the incident, but the cause of death is uncertain. He was a reporter for Al-Ayn news agency.[14] According to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, Ayn stated he was in contact with the agency while in the building and then was quoted saying, "We lost contact at the moment of the assault by the security forces. We later learned that he was dead."[13]


The 29 March terrorist attack in Tikrit, Iraq was listed as one of the deadliest attacks in Iraq in 2011.[6] The attack resulted in 65 fatalities and 100 wounded.[5] Among the many that lost their lives were government workers, security forces, and journalists Sabah al-Bazil and Muammar Khadir Abdelwahad.[4][5] This event highlighted the fragility of the Iraqi security forces while U.S. forces were withdrawing [4]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Al-Qaeda claims credit for Tikrit siege". Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  2. "Tikrit Map". Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  3. "Current Time in Tikrit, Iraq". worldtimeengine. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "Iraq hostage siege kills 56 at gov't center". CBS News. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 "Two journalists among scores killed in insurgent operation in Tikrit". IFEX. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Timeline: Deadliest attacks in Iraq in last year". Reuters. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Dozens killed in attack on Tikrit council". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "U.S. troops wounded during Tikrit assault". AP. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  9. "UPDATE: Hostages killed execution-style in Iraq siege; 45 dead". Orange County Review. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  10. "FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, March 29". AP. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  11. "Iraq: Death toll of Tikrit attack rises to nearly 60". Al Bawaba News. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  12. "Al-Qaeda claims credit for Tikrit siege". AP. 2 April 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Two journalists among scores killed in insurgent operation in Tikrit". Reporters Without Borders.,39912.html. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  14. "Muammar Khadir Abdelwahad". The Freedom Forum Journalists Memorial. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 

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