Al-Qaeda Stealing Blood From Hospitals in Iraq

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REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Looking for blood to treat their injured fighters, Iraqi insurgents turn to hospitals and blood banks—and steal it at gunpoint.

According to the New York Times, Iraqi officials report that “the raids have been occurring for some time in provinces with large Sunni Arab populations and appear to signal an insurgency desperate to safeguard its core group of fighters.”

Rather taking their injured members to the hospital, where they risk being arrested, it’s believed that al-Qaeda has their own group of specialists who tend to the wounded. However, they are lacking for a supply in blood and so able-bodied members stage the the hold ups.

The Times adds that support for al-Qaeda is swiftly diminishing among Sunni Arabs, yet many hospital employees say they fear reporting the thefts to the police because they believe that many in the armed forces support al-Qaeda.