Iraq: Bloodiest Day Since The Occupation Began
At least 33 Iraqis Killed, Scores Wounded in A Series of Attacks Hitting ICRC headquarters, Police Stations
In one the bloodiest days since the start of the occupation, a series of massive car bombings rocked Baghdad killing at least thirty three people and injuring more than 65 others.
The first attack targeted the Baghdad headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross. A bomber drove an ambulance packed with explosives into the ICRC headquarters killing at least 18 people, including two Red Cross employees. At least 10 others were injured.
The Red Cross said it will re-assess as a result its working conditions.
Antonella Notari, ICRC Press Officer said, "It's much too early at this point to answer that question. We will have to analyse exactly what this means and we really wish we wish..we're determined to stay in Iraq. We know there's a need for the ICRC in Iraq. We've been in Iraq ever since 1980. We never left, even in the worst circumstances. We know that the Iraqi people need our presence. This makes it extremely difficult. Today it's impossible for us yet to give a precise decision on that."
According to a US occupation military spokesman, the second attack took place not far from the ICRC headquarters, near the ministry of health in Kathimiyah area.
Another attack hit the Iraqi Ministry of Industry in Central Baghdad. Also a series of car bombs struck at least three Iraqi police stations leaving some four Iraqi policemen and three civilians dead and 21 injured including some 10 US soldiers. Monday's attacks came after Baghdad's security Commander General Martin Dimpsy said he stood by his assertion that security was improving in the country.
Dimspy's words followed two rocket attacks Sunday on the Rasheed Hotel where US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying, killing one occupation soldier and injuring some 15 others. Dimpsy ruled out an assassination attempt targeting Wolfowitz in the attacks.
He said, "Do I think this was targetted at him? No I do not. And I go back to the earlier question - I think this device probably took a couple of months to prepare, his travel itinerary certainly wasn't known at that point in time."
Two months of preparations to launch some 40 missiles from a rocket launcher near the very well known hotel for its security measures and its heavily gurded circumference, marks yet another US failure in providing security even for their high ranking officials.
US Secretary of StateColin Powell said, "We did not expect it would be quite this intense, this long."
Powell was seemingly surprised by the intensity of anti-US attacks and their ability to continue for such a long time. US lawmakers had the same reaction, but strongly criticized US president George Bush's Iraq policies. Senator Jon Kerry accused Bush of forming a fraudulent coalition, and of dishonering the inspection process in Iraq by not acting through the United Nations.
New York-based civil right activist Al Sharpton
advocated a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq,
saying, "Bush was wrong to go in the first place, and to
delay coming out will not make it right, we nee to not get
into another Vietnam."