Suicide Bombers Kill Dozens of Iraqi Civilians
Suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque in Khanaqin and a hotel in Baghdad, killing over fifty people.
Suicide bombers killed 52 worshippers at a Shiite mosque near the Iranian border on Friday. In Baghdad two car bombs destroyed the blast wall protecting a hotel housing international journalists and killed eight Iraqis. The suicide attackers targeted the Sheik Murad mosque in Khanaqin, 90 miles northeast of Baghdad, as dozens of people were attending prayers, police said. Sixty-five people were wounded in addition to the 52 killed, Iraqi army Col. Hazim al-Sudani said.
The blasts near the Hamra hotel in Baghdad knocked down the concrete walls protecting the hotel and blew out windows but did no structural damage. However it brought down several residential buildings and left a large crater in the road. Firefighters and U.S. troops joined residents in digging through the debris for victims.
It would be the second attack against a hotel housing international journalists since the Oct. 24 triple vehicle bomb attack against the Palestine Hotel, where The Associated Press, Fox News and other organizations live and work. “What we have here appears to be two suicide car bombs (that) attempted to breach the security wall in the vicinity of the hotel complex, and I think the target was the Hamra Hotel,” U.S. Brig. Gen. Karl Horst told reporters at the scene.
Gunfire followed the blasts, which came less than a minute apart and echoed throughout downtown Baghdad. At first the target appeared to be an interior ministry building where U.S. troops on Sunday found about 170 detainees, some of whom appeared to have been tortured. “The investigation is under way, but the initial reports indicate so far the first car bomber was trying to pave the way for the second one, not on the main road, but on a secondary road to get in and hit the Hamra hotel, not the interior ministry,” said Maj. Gen. Hussein Kamal, the deputy interior minister.
There’s little doubt that these types of attacks would continue if American troops were to suddenly pull out of Iraq. Contrary to the views of Rep. Murtha, our troops are no longer the primary target of the so-called insurgency.