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Car bombings were a common form of attack in Iraq during the Coalition occupation

After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, resistance movements and militias began launching attacks on both domestic and foreign military targets, as well as civilian targets. In the beginning, foreign civilian targets were attacked, like the Jordanian embassy, UN and Red Cross headquarters. When foreigners became more protected or simply fled Iraq, ordinary Iraqi civilians were attacked, because of sectarian divisions.


This is a list of major bombings of the Iraq War. For all suicide bombings see List of suicide bombings in Iraq since 2003











Post US-pullout

Following the withdrawal of US forces and the formal end of the "Iraq War," insurgent attacks have continued.[1]


Kidnappings and hostages

Beginning in April 2004, members of the Iraqi insurgency began taking hostage foreign civilians in Iraq. Since then, they have kidnapped more than 200 foreigners and thousands of Iraqis; among them, 30 foreign hostages have been killed. The motives behind these kidnappings include influencing foreign governments with troops in Iraq and foreign companies with workers there, as well as ransom money and discouraging travel to Iraq. In 2004, executions of captives were often filmed, and several were beheaded. However, the number of videotaped killings has decreased significantly, and now the deaths of hostages are often announced only in a statement. Many hostages remain missing with no clue as to their whereabouts. The US Department of State Hostage Working Group was organized by the US embassy in Baghdad in the summer of 2004 to monitor hostages in Iraq.


Since the beginning of the insurgency, several high-profile people have been assassinated. These included:

  • Sergio Vieira de Mello - Brazilian United Nations diplomat who worked as the Secretary-General's Special Representative in Iraq. (2003)
  • Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim - One of the foremost Twelver Shi'a Muslim leaders in Iraq. (2003)
  • Akila al-Hashimi (2003)
  • Izzedine Salim (2004)
  • Dhari Ali al-Fayadh (2004)
  • Mohammed Awad (2007)
  • Sheikh Sittar - Iraqi tribal sheikh. He was leader of an alliance of Iraqi Sunni Arab tribe that opposed al-Qaeda in Iraq, and son of the chief of the Albu Risha clan, a subset of the Dulaim tribe, the largest and most important tribe in Iraq.(2007)

Chemical warfare attacks

During 2007, insurgents exploded several chlorine containers attacking Iraqi civilians. Hundreds were killed and many more injured.

Awareness of US opinion on the war

One study has compared the number of insurgent attacks in Iraq to the number of "anti-resolve" statements in the US media, the release of public opinion polls, and geographic variations in access to international media by Iraqis. The purpose was to determine if insurgents responded to information on "casualty sensitivity." The researchers found that insurgent attacks spiked by 5 to 10% after increases in the number of negative reports of the war in the media. The authors identified this as an "emboldenment effect" and concluded "insurgent groups respond rationally to expected probability of US withdrawal."[2]

In a response, Camillo Mac Bica has expressed surprise that an "unpublished . . . working paper" had excited as much interest as it did among media outlets and bloggers. He argued that the research methodology utilized in this study was flawed and that the researchers, despite recognizing and acknowledging the inadequacies of their argument, continued to draw conclusions not indicated by their findings.[3]

See also


  2. Radha Iyengar and Jonathan Monten, "Is There an "Emboldenment" Effect? Evidence from the Insurgency in Iraq," National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 13839, March 2008 (free version at "Is There an “Emboldenment” Effect? Evidence from the Insurgency in Iraq")
  3. Camillo "Mac" Bica, "Does Protest Embolden the Iraqi Insurgency?" (Washington, DC: Foreign Policy In Focus, May 12, 2008).

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