Sunday, November 20, 2005

Another Bloody Day

It was 8:15 a.m. on Friday Nov. 18, when I was woken up by a strong boom. Seconds later another explosion reverberated. I stayed in bed and convinced myself that they were two mortar rounds that are common in Baghdad. I went to bed too late the night before. At about 9:30 a.m. I was out and the moment I saw a colleague of mine I told him, hopefully it will be a quiet day. "What?" he answered. "There had already been two large explosions."
Hardly a day passes in this country without an explosion or shooting that kill or wound a number of people. The target Friday was a Baghdad hotel used by foreign journalists. A security camera showed how the events went. A car passes through a street leading to the Hamra hotel then gets close to the blast wall surrounding the it. Seconds later, the suicide attacker driving the car detonates the vehicle. A man who happened to be passing in the street looked at the car as it crossed him. He was for sure killed in the blast for he was too close. Seconds later, another vehicle tries to pass through a hole in the blast wall created by the explosion of the first car but also detonates outside the hotel. The attack left at least six people dead and dozens wounded all of them Iraqis living nearby. Large part of a nearby building collapsed.
Around midday, news start coming from the eastern Iraqi town of Khanaqin. Two men wearing explosive belts detonated themselves in the middle of worshipers in two Shiite Muslim mosques killing some 75 people and leaving scores others injured. One of the explosions was so strong that part of the mosque collapsed. Several hours after the blasts rescue workers were still trying to pull bodies buried under the debris.
My plan was to go out in the afternoon for a tour in Baghdad that day but got too busy with work. My walk in some of Baghdad's streets few days ago was not that great. I went out with my friend Q but we seem to have gone out in the wrong time. As we walked, dozens of Iraqi soldiers, many of them wearing black masks, cordoned an area of about one square kilometer and prevented people from entering it. Iraqis seem to have become used to such events. As the soldiers closed the area, young girls wearing dark blue school uniforms walked home without noticing the danger. We asked some soldiers what was going on but got no answer. "Maybe they have a tip that a suicide attacker is planning to strike," Q said. We continued the walk and crossed on one of the bridges of the Tirgis river and headed to the office.
At about 2 a.m. Saturday I went to bed wondering whose last day today will be.


At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Tareq said...

Brave guys like you are keeping us informed of what is really going on in our beloved Baghdad.

God bliss you

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