Friday, March 07, 2008

68 dead

Sixty-eight people were killed in twin bomb attacks on a shopping area in central Baghdad, Iraq's interior ministry has said.
The Thursday blasts left another 130 people injured, officials said.
Funerals are taking place in the mainly-Shia district of Karada - the scene of the bombings.
The second bomb hit a crowd of people, including emergency workers, who had gathered to help after the first blast, causing the high death toll.

The above's from the BBC and remember the numbers as you read print articles that filed earlier to meet deadlines. Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Mohammed Obaidi (New York Times) offer this from a witness:

A shoe salesman who would identify himself only by his first name, Hatam, said the first bomb slammed him to the ground. He got up, looked behind him, and ran to aid a woman whose leg had been ripped off by the blast.
"We managed to drag her away from the spot, and then the police came really quickly, and they were shouting at the people to move back because there might be another explosion," he said. “But the people didn't listen, and even some of the policemen who were already there didn't pay attention, and that is when the second explosion happened."
This time, Hatam said, he walked away. "I couldn't go back again," he said. "The scene was so horrible, and I lost the energy to see dead people."
The explosions sprayed chunks of human flesh for 50 yards. The second bomb, about 10 minutes after the first, killed more people. A number of Iraqi soldiers and police officers who hurried in after the first attack were among the dead and wounded.

Borzou Daragahi and Saif Hameed (Los Angeles Times) report:

Pandemonium erupted. "It was chaotic and everyone was screaming," said Ali Abdul-Hussein, 37, owner of a cellphone shop 150 yards from the blast site.
"I saw 20 helpless, dead bodies with my own eyes, children and women among them," he said. "It was a very miserable situation. I knew it. I knew something like this would happen."
Young men hurried to help, handing victims water and cleaning wounds. Ambulances and good Samaritans transported victims to 13 hospitals throughout east Baghdad.
At Medical City hospital, where as many as 30 of the victims had been brought, Redha Mohammed awaited word on the fate of his son Hisham. Mohammed had rushed to the site of the blasts, only to be told his son had been taken to the hospital.
"He has deep wounds in his abdomen and severe burns," he said of his son, who peddles costume jewelry in Karada. "They're trying to stop the bleeding."
At the scene of the blasts, pools of water used by firefighters to douse the flames mixed with the blood of victims. At least 16 of the dead and 28 of the injured were security officials on hand to help the victims of the first explosion. The blasts crushed shops and mangled more than a dozen vehicles.

And for perspective, Steve Lannen and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers):

Thursday's attack is considered the second worst so far this year in Baghdad. On Feb. 1, two female suicide bombers detonated less than 20 minutes apart in separate animal markets, killing 98 people.
After a low of 76 people killed in Baghdad in November, February was the third straight month to see an increase in violence in the city, with 172 killed.

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mcclatchy newspapers
borzou daragahi
the los angeles times