Iraq alcohol vendors fear next attack

2013-05-15 22:11

Baghdad - Alcohol vendors in Baghdad were worried for their safety on Wednesday, a day after unknown gunmen shot dead 12 people at a humble row of shops selling beer and liquor.

"I am afraid; how can I not be afraid?" said Khodaida Murad Khidr, who works in an alcohol shop in central Baghdad, adding that his cousin was one of those killed in the attack in the capital's Zayouna district.

"My son works with me; I sent him back home this morning. I told him, 'why are both of us staying here?'" said Khidr, standing in the small shop with neat rows of whiskey and other liquor lining the shelves.

Abu Zina, who works at another alcohol shop in central Baghdad, was also worried about being targeted.

"Every day, we are careful; we are afraid," Abu Zina said.

"We ask God for security, and we request the government to take care of security, because it is its job, not the citizens' job," he said.

"At any minute, you may be threatened and targeted, at any minute you may be hit and wounded, and maybe you live, or die, despite having a family and children," Abu Zina said.


The shop where he works has metal bars from the countertop to the ceiling, separating employees from those who might threaten them.

It also has security cameras to watch for attackers, and a Kalashnikov assault rifle resting near the counter.

On Tuesday, gunmen whose weapons were fitted with silencers, arrived in four vehicles, restrained police at a nearby checkpoint and began shooting at people at a row of shops in Zayouna, an interior ministry official said.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the murders, nor have the authorities announced any suspects, but numerous liquor stores have been attacked by Islamic fundamentalists since the 2003 fall of Saddam Hussein.


The stores are an attractive target for fundamentalists because Islam forbids alcohol, and are made more so because they are often staffed by religious minorities such as Yazidis and Christians.

Commenting on the attacks, Khidr said if the politicians want Iraq to be an Islamic state, they should declare it one.

"If they say the state is Islamic, then we will leave this job and go to another," Khidr said.

For now, the colourfully painted metal doors of the row of alcohol shops where the Tuesday attack took place are tightly shut.

Outside, a large cooler, tables and a pile of empty whiskey and beer cases were clustered around a tree.

And a strip of yellow and black crime-scene tape hung from a bench in front of the shops in the Zayouna area, but there were no other signs that a dozen people had been murdered.

Violence has fallen in Iraq from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common, and more than 200 people were killed in each of the first four months of this year.

  • Pieter van Staden - 2013-05-15 22:21

    If l lived in irak l would have been a alcoholic...people there can do with a drink.

  • Charmaine McDonald - 2013-05-15 23:27

    They say they are Muslims and they do not drink because it is haraam, meaning un-lawful.... but they selling the haraam, and drinking it as well. These are the human beings that JUDGE other nations. So much for Islam.

      Gcodi Matshona - 2013-05-16 05:10

      Brussels - The Belgian Roman Catholic Church said on Wednesday it had received more than 300 complaints of sexual abuse of minors in 2012.

      Samuel Rogue - 2013-05-16 06:47

      South Africans - They say they are Christians and they do not commit adultery because it is haraam, meaning un-lawful.... but they committing the haraam, and promoting it as well. These are the human beings that JUDGE other nations. So much for christianity.

      Samuel Rogue - 2013-05-16 06:52

      Charmaine, you are the ultimate ignoramus. What u have said is akin to saying all christians are adulterers because some of them commit adultery... Similarly, does it mean that all christians are pedophiles because some priests in the catholic church have molested young boys? #applyyourmind

  • Taufiq Sithole - 2013-05-16 07:05

    Religious backbiting aside, choosing not to drink on religious grounds as a personal choice is all good and well but shooting 12 people dead for not coming to the same conclusion is taking things way to far.

  • Caine Abel - 2013-05-16 08:28

    Rather kill than drink beer ......i see the "logic" ......moronic idiots all over the world

  • kent.harding.9 - 2013-05-21 07:58

    What ever u do DONT 'give that man a bells'

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