Baghdad Hotel Destroyed

AP: Explosion destroys hotel in central Baghdad

A huge car bomb destroyed a five-story hotel in central Baghdad on Wednesday night, killing at least 27 people and wounding 41 others, Iraqi police and the U.S. military said.

Army Col. Ralph Baker of the 1st Armored Division said rescuers were still searching for victims in the Jabal Lebanon Hotel. He said foreigners were among the guests.

Local resident Faleh Kalhan said Americans, Britons, Egyptians as well as other foreigners were staying at the hotel.

American forces and Iraqi ambulances hurried to the scene to help. Rescuers could be seen pulling bodies from the rubble of the hotel that was hit just three days before the first anniversary of the start of the U.S.-led war to topple Saddam Hussein.

Americans, Britons, Egyptians as well as other foreigners were staying at the hotel, resident Faleh Kalhan said.

The Bush administration offered prayers for the victims but said such attacks would not change U.S. policy.

“Democracy is taking root in Iraq and there is no turning back,” said Scott McClellan, White House spokesman. “This is a time of testing, but the terrorists will not prevail.”

The explosion left a huge crater, and five smaller, adjacent buildings were badly damaged. Six dazed and injured people stumbled from the wreckage. A father cradled his young daughter, who was limp in his arms.


Video here.

Steven Taylor has more hereand here.

There are several posts–many of them duplicative–at Command Post.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.