Wednesday, February 28, 2007

UPDATE on US controlled explosion; Ramadi bomb kills playing children ; Report of Deadly Iraq Bombing Questioned

Confusion over Iraq soccer explosion - US carried out blast - 18 children dead

Ramadi bomb kills playing children

20:37 MECCA TIME, 17:37 GMT

A car bomb attack near a football field in the Iraqi city of Ramadi has killed 18 youngsters according to state television and defence officials.

Iraqi television station Iraqiya said on Tuesday that the blast had been caused by a car bomb.

Police said it was a roadside bomb and that the field was near a US military base.

Sheikh Hamid al-Hais, deputy head of a council of Sunni tribal chiefs opposed to al-Qaeda, said: "The bombers have no humanity. Eighteen boys were killed, the oldest one was 15. Dozens more were wounded."

The offices of Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, and Jalal Talabani, the president, both issued statements condemning the blast that they said killed 18 people.

Al-Maliki's office said the dead included 12 children, while Talabani's office said all 18 were children.

Controlled blast

Sheikh Hamid said the truck, loaded up with logs, was parked next to the pitch and detonated as the boys played.

A defence official confirmed that 18 children were killed and 20 wounded in the latest attack

However, the US military told reporters that it was unaware of the bomb attack and had earlier undertaken a controlled blast in the city.

Major Jeff Pool, a US military spokesman, said the blast by US soldiers near a football field in Ramadi had slightly wounded 30 people, including nine children.

Pool said it was carried out in the courtyard of a building where bags of explosives had been found and that the wounded had cuts and bruises.

Windows from a nearby building were blown out, causing the wounds. Pool said US forces helped evacuate those injured.

He said: "I can't imagine there would be another attack involving children without our people knowing."

The major said the controlled blast in Ramadi was "stronger than we had expected".

The US military often carries out controlled explosions in Iraq to destroy captured weapons or unexploded bombs.

Referring to the football attack, a police colonel in Ramadi, who declined to be identified, said a suicide bomber had detonated a truck bomb and put the time of the explosion at about 5pm.

Pool said the controlled US blast was at 5:34pm.

What is the likelihood that there were two different blasts that occurred in the same area at around the same time?

Very little.

But, more importantly - if it is the same blast - what is the likelihood that US explosives 'experts' did not know that there were children playing near the truck?


Case closed. The US is screwed.

Things are going to get MUCH, MUCH worse from here on.

"Money" has no value - people do.

qrswave | Tue, 2007-02-27 22:28

Report of Deadly Iraq Bombing Questioned

Wednesday February 28, 2007 3:46 AM

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - State television reported Tuesday that 18 boys were killed when a car bomb exploded in a park in Ramadi, and Iraqi and international officials were quick to deplore the slaughter. But questions about key details of the report emerged just as quickly.

Iraqi police and state TV said the attack occurred Tuesday. Later, police said it happened Monday.

The confusion grew deeper following an announcement by U.S. forces that 30 civilians and one Iraqi soldier were injured by flying debris Tuesday when troops intentionally detonated 15 bags of explosives found in Ramadi. Some of the wounded were treated at a U.S. aid station, and others were flown to a military hospital for treatment, the statement said. None of the injuries was life-threatening, it added.

The news first broke after nightfall when it is too dangerous for local journalists to check the reports independently in Ramadi, a Sunni insurgent stronghold 70 miles west of Baghdad. Western reporters normally tour the area only as part of military patrols. Much of Ramadi is under effective insurgent control, and even the police have difficulty establishing the facts in bombings and assassinations.

Meanwhile, reports that the boys were killed touched off a flurry of condemnation.

UNICEF, the U.N.'s children's agency, issued a statement saying ``the loss of so many innocent children at play is unacceptable.''

``Iraq's recreational areas, as well as its schools, must be respected and protected as safe havens where children can play and learn without fear,'' said Roger Wright, the UNICEF representative for Iraq.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's office issued a statement denouncing the 18 deaths and calling on Iraqi security forces to ``chase and punish the criminals.''

Another statement from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office called the boys' deaths ``a brutal act'' that ``reveals the ugly face'' of terrorists. The prime minister's statement described the attack as coming Tuesday.

But an official in al-Maliki's office said they based the date on the Iraqi TV report. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public comments.

A prominent Sunni cleric called the attack evidence of terrorists' ``deficit and weakness.''

``They (terrorists) have neither religion nor dignity,'' Sheik Hameed al-Hayes told state television.

"Money" has no value - people do.

qrswave | Tue, 2007-02-27 22:32

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