Top of the Morning: Sectarian Strife in India; Iraq Bombings Show Local Al Qaeda Affiliate Strength

Top stories from DAWNS Digest. 

Several Killed in Sectarian Riots in India

The government has issued “shoot on sight” orders to police in Assam state working to quell an ethnic-based riot that is spiraling out of control.  “Thousands of people have fled their homes in India’s northeastern Assam state after fighting between indigenous tribes and Muslim settlers killed at least 19 people, wounded many more, and left villages in flames, police said on Monday. Police were forced to fire warning shots to disperse armed groups that were moving between jungle hamlets on Monday, setting fire to bamboo houses, police and aid workers in the area told Reuters…he latest wave of violence was sparked on Friday night when unidentified men killed four youths in the state’s Bodo tribe- dominated Kokrajhar district near the borders of Bangladesh and Bhutan, police and district officials said. In retaliation, armed Bodos attacked Muslims, suspecting them to be behind the killings. About 50,000 villagers have fled their homes and taken shelter in relief camps out of fear since then, said Donald Gilfellon, a senior civil servant in the Kokrajhar district, adding that 37 camps had been set up to help the refugees and that more would be opened if needed.” (Reuters

Iraq Bombings Show Strength of Local Al Qaeda Affiliate

The local wing of Al Qaeda is flexing its muscle in advance of what it believes may be a regional ethnic conflict. “At least 107 people were killed in bomb and gun attacks in Iraq on Monday, a day after 20 died in explosions, in a coordinated surge of violence against mostly Shi’ite Muslim targets. The bloodshed, which coincided with an intensifying of the conflict in neighboring Syria, pointed up the deficiencies of the Iraqi security forces, which failed to prevent insurgents from striking in multiple locations across the country. As well as the scores of deaths, at least 268 people were wounded by bombings and shootings in Shi’ite areas of Baghdad, the Shi’ite town of Taji to the north, the northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul and many other places, hospital and police sources said, making it one of Iraq’s bloodiest days in weeks. No group has claimed responsibility for the wave of assaults but a senior Iraqi security official blamed the local wing of al Qaeda, made up of Sunni Muslim militants hostile to the Shi’ite-led government, which is friendly with Iran. ‘Recent attacks are a clear message that al Qaeda in Iraq is determined to spark a bloody sectarian war,” the official said, asking not to be named. ‘With what’s going on in Syria, these attacks should be taken seriously as a potential threat to our country. Al Qaeda is trying to push Iraq to the verge of Shi’ite-Sunni war,’ he said. ‘They want things to be as bad as in Syria.’” (Reuters