Iraq is taken a further step toward full-scale civil war, as the Sunni and Shia communities exchange mortar fire, the Associated Press reports:
The highly portable though inaccurate mortar is increasingly the weapon of choice as Shiite and Sunni populations separate, because it allows sectarian fighters to fire into a district from a distance.
Mortars can be quickly pulled from the trunk of a car and fired over several miles, causing death and destruction without the dangers of close-quarters combat or the sacrifice of a suicide bomber….
The exchange of mortar fire began in earnest this month when four mortar rounds poured down near Azamiyah’s Abu Hanifa Mosque, killing at least five people. The next day three more people were killed in rocket and mortar attacks in the same neighborhood. Two other civilians were killed by mortars in Dora.
Mortars also fell on both Sunni Azamiyah and Shiite Kazimiyah over the following days. The Sunni-operated Baghdad Television urged the Shiite-dominated government to intervene.
On Tuesday, in apparent retaliation for mortar attacks on Sunni areas, a suicide bomber struck a coffee shop in Kazimiyah, killing 21 people and wounding 25. The next day, a pair of mortar rounds slammed into a field in the Shiite district of Sadr City, killing eight soccer players and fans.
November 11th, 2006