The bombings in the Iraqi Parliament, as well as the bombing of the bridge in Baghdad today were quite effective for the terrorists. The Parliament is inside the Green Zone, an area (which also houses the US Embassy) believed to have tight security from various sources (including US military). For a homicide bomber to get through the various security measures and be able to pull this off, is deeply troubling, and most are suspecting an accomplice from the “inside”. At last count, 8 people were killed and 23 injured. From Fox News:
The parliament bombing was believed to be the deadliest attack in the Green Zone, the enclave that houses Iraq’s leadership as well as the U.S. Embassy, and is secured by American and Iraqi checkpoints.
Security officials at parliament, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information, said they believed the bomber was a bodyguard of a Sunni member of parliament who was not among the dead. They would not name the member of parliament.
The officials also said two satchel bombs were found near the cafeteria. A U.S. bomb squad took the explosives away and detonated them without incident.
We can imagine how scary this would be had something like this happened in our State Capital. Demoralizing, indeed.
From Hot Air:
What they’re trying to do here, very clearly, is show the surge isn’t working by demonstrating that even the safest part of the city is more vulnerable than it’s been. That’s why they’ve been focusing more on the Green Zone in the past few weeks. It started with the rocket attack during Maliki’s presser with Ban Ki-Moon, then another rocket attack killed an American soldier, then they found two suicide vests somewhere in the area. The fact that the bomber attacked in the cafeteria instead of the main assembly hall, where he could have done a lot more damage, makes me think he was probably a menial employee, not someone in an MP’s security detail (although I wouldn’t be surprised if I was wrong). Assuming they did a diligent job with the dogs as people were coming in, it also means the bomb was hidden somewhere in the building before the doors opened this morning.
An Iraqi news station caught the explosion on tape. Its obviously not in English, but the sense of fear and confusion is still palpable. I know this is a reach (since this bombing is a much smaller scale) but I couldn’t help but be reminded of the video we saw of the lobby of Tower 2 (was it 2?) on 9-11 after being hit by the second plane. Smoke, confusion, wandering around in a dusty cloud trying to figure out what was going on, it triggered the panic I felt when watching that video. This is why terror attacks are named as such. Watch:
Richard Miniter from Pajamas Media is on assignment in Iraq and also witnessed the explosion. He tells of the chaos in the way the Iraqi’s handed the aftermath, and how many people had to be held for long hours inside a fenced area:
The Iraqi matter was not handled with style and grace. After some shouting, several Iraqi members of parliament were able to leave the holding pen and drive off in the cars, leaving nearly 80 others trapped in the hot sun. Whether they left out of concern for their own safety or their convenience is anyone’s guess.
The other bombing took place today at Sarrafiya bridge in Baghdad. Ten people killed and at least 26 wounded. The bridge was sentimental as well as functional to the city. From Fox News:
In addition to killing 10 people, Thursday’s bombing of the al-Sarafiya bridge wounded 26, hospital officials said, and police were trying to rescue as many as 20 people whose cars plummeted off the span.
[...] The river now serves as a de facto dividing line between the mostly Shiite east and the largely Sunni west of the city, a reality of more than a year of sectarian fighting that has forced Sunnis to flee neighborhoods where they were a minority and likewise for Shiites.
From Omar of Iraq The Model who lives and blogs from Baghdad:
This morning Baghdad lost one of its historic icons when the terrorists blew up the Sarrafiya Bridge. This was an attack on both a vital infrastructure of the city and our morale, let alone the innocent lives that were lost in this vicious attack. What we lost today was not just a bridge, it was a piece of the Baghdad history.
[...] With several other bridges closed to traffic permanently or occasionally, the Sarrafiya Bridge became of strategic importance to us as more people became dependent on it for their traveling between the two sides of the city.
The terrorists wanted to stop normal life with this attack and they succeeded. Transportation between Karkh and Rasafa just got more difficult than ever. In addition, many people will avoid being on bridges for fear of similar attacks in the future.
[...] Everyone I talked to today was more saddened by the bridge attack than the explosion at the parliament building that killed two of its members. They all seemed to agree that if there’s anyone to blamed for that it’s the members of parliament themselves. Parliament members are famous for complaining about ‘security measures’ in the Green Zone being “insulting” to them and to Iraq’s sovereignty. They didn’t want their vehicles and guards to be searched. This is the result.
The incident was no surprise to me, when we often hear that bombs, explosive vests and illegal weapons have been found in buildings inside the International Zone. You just knew that one day something bad was going to happen. The MPs know very well that there are bad elements among their guards, yet they didn’t move to tighten security measures in the area nor done anything to identify and remove corrupt guards.
Our thoughts are with all the families of those injured or killed.