Suicide Bombers Kill 75 Iraqis, Officials Condemn Barbarism
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 8, 2006 Multiple suicide bombers reportedly detonated explosive devices at the Buratha Mosque in Kadamiyah, Iraq, yesterday, killing an estimated 75 Iraqis and wounding another 135 bystanders, officials reported
Three male suicide bombers reportedly exploded inside the Shiite mosque, while one female suicide bomber reportedly exploded outside the mosque at approximately 4 p.m. The mosque itself suffered no structural damage, officials said.
Iraqi army, police and firemen arrived at the scene within minutes of the explosions and provided security and medical assistance. Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers arrived later and established a protective outer cordon.
All 135 wounded Iraqis were evacuated to local area hospitals. Iraqi authorities are investigating the incident.
"Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the Iraqi people. This was a terrible tragedy," said Army Maj. Gen. J.D. Thurman, commanding general of Multinational Division Baghdad. "This clearly shows the inhuman and barbarous nature of the terrorists we are fighting. They will stop at nothing to incite sectarian violence and disrupt the forming of a national unity government."
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad offered his "sincerest condolences to the people of Iraq in the wake of the vicious bombing attack on worshippers at the Buratha mosque."
Khalilzad said these terrorists "are the enemies of all faiths and of all humanity... [because they] seek to murder innocent people who worship at Iraq's holy sites and religious institutions." The United States, Khalilzad added, "condemns this cowardly act in the strongest possible terms."
The Buratha mosque is the second-most-significant Shiite mosque in Baghdad. It is a historical mosque and the headquarters of Jalel Addeen Asaghir, an Iraqi parliamentarian. Sayed Mohamad Baqir al-Hakim, the leader of Iraq's Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution and the son of Grand Ayatollah Sayed Muhsin Al Hakim, also worships at the Buratha Mosque.
Officials said use of a female suicide bomber is a proven al Qaeda terrorist tactic. A female suicide bomber in Tal Afar, for instance, killed eight people in September 2005. Another female suicide bomber attacked an American patrol in Mosul last October, officials said.
Khalilzad urged all Iraqis to "exercise restraint in the wake of this tragedy." He asked Iraqis to "come together to fight terror, to continue to resist the provocation to sectarian violence and to pursue justice within the framework of Iraq's laws and constitution."
The United States "will continue to do everything in its power to assist the government of Iraq in bringing to justice those responsible for this heinous crime," he said. "May God bless the people of Iraq," he said.
Elsewhere in Iraq, a U.S. Army patrol from with the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Task Force Band of Brothers, captured a large weapons cache along the Tigris River yesterday, officials said. An air attack weapons team suspected existence of the cache after spotting a man transporting 55-gallon drums across the Tigris River.
The drums themselves were found to contain only fuel. However, a patrol from Bulldog Troop, 2nd Squadron, 9th Cavalry, searched the area and discovered a large number of munitions and mortars.
The cache had 7.62 ammunition rounds, 60mm mortar rounds, 82mm mortar rounds, 60mm mortar tubes, mortar tripods and bases, 125mm projectiles, gun powder and assorted munitions. Other canisters that have yet to be searched also contraband, officials said.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and other news releases.)