BAGHDAD – Encouraged by a recent lull in violence in the capital, Karim Sami brought his wife and 18-month-old son to one of Baghdad’s most revered shrines Sunday for prayers marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
After paying their respects at the shrine of Moussa Kadhim, an eighth-century Shiite Muslim imam, the young family enjoyed some snacks in the courtyard before joining the throngs browsing for new holiday outfits among the clothing stalls outside.
“We were on our way out of the area and driving as usual when suddenly there was this big fireball on the opposite side of the road,” said Sami, reached at home by telephone. “My wife and child started to cry.”
Police said a car bomb ripped through passing vehicles, including a minibus carrying worshippers to the shrine, killing at least 10 people and injuring 18. At least two women and two children younger than 14 were among the dead, a hospital official said.
“It is very sad that the criminals responsible for such attacks would choose such a holy day and place,” Sami said. “It is as if they don’t want any happiness for the Iraqi people; they just want us to suffer.”
Two U.S. soldiers were killed Sunday, one in a roadside bombing in Baghdad and the other in a noncombat incident in Nineveh province, the military said. At least 3,827 U.S. service members have been reported killed since the start of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to the independent Web site icasualties.org.
Police said Sunday that at least 18 people were killed and 27 injured when a suicide truck bomber attacked a police station in Samarra and gunmen opened fire late Saturday.
A Washington Post special correspondent was shot to death Sunday in southwest Baghdad while on assignment, the newspaper reported.
Salih Saif Aldin, 32, was reporting in Baghdad’s Sadiyah neighborhood when he was shot in the forehead. According to residents of the neighborhood and the Iraqi military officers at the scene, he was taking photographs on a street where several houses had been burned when he was killed. His wounds appeared to indicate he was shot at close range.