Iraq PM warns of ‘war of genocide’

Iraq PM warns of ‘war of genocide’

BAGHDAD – Agence France-Presse
Iraq PM warns of ‘war of genocide’

In this picture taken on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaks during the opening day of Sport City in Basra, Iraq. AP Photo

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned Oct. 23 that the country is facing a “war of genocide,” as officials said militants killed 49 people in two days of attacks.

Violence has reached a level unseen since 2008, as Iraq emerged from a brutal conflict between minority Sunni Muslims and majority Shiites. Militants, including those linked to al-Qaeda, frequently target security forces and other government employees.

“It has become clear... that Iraq is subjected to a war of genocide targeting all of its components,” al-Maliki said in his weekly address.

Al-Qaeda is once again “destroying the houses of citizens and killing them, and blowing up government departments,” al-Maliki said.

But a front opposing the militant group “has begun to form in Iraq from different components... the security services and tribes and Sons of Iraq,” he said, referring to anti-al-Qaeda militiamen.

Violence worsened sharply after security forces stormed a Sunni protest camp in northern Iraq in April, sparking clashes in which dozens died.

More than 550 people have now been killed this month, and more than 5,250 since the beginning of the year, according to figures based on security and medical sources.

A study released this month by academics based in the United States, Canada and Iraq said nearly half a million people have died from war-related causes in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.