Iraq: Children killed in car bombing

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BAGHDAD, 14 July (IRIN) - At least 26 children have been killed and 13 injured after a suicide bomber blew himself up near a US convoy in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Interior (MoI).

The Baghdad attack took place in the Shi'ite district of Ijidida, an area that has been constantly targeted over the last few months by insurgents. This particular attack has sickened local people and sparked international condemnation.

Body parts could be seen strewn across the streets following the blast. According to medical staff, most were the remains of children.

The deputy minister of the interior, Sabah Kadham, said that the attack just proved that insurgents did not care for innocent human lives in the country. According to witnesses, the bomber had seen that there were children close to the convoy. They were gathered around the US troops as the children collected sweets which they were handing out.

Families demonstrated outside the fortified green zone on Thursday morning, calling on the government to do more to protect innocent lives.

"I lost my grandson in the attack. He was an innocent five-year-old infant and insurgents are trying to kill our future," said tearful grandmother, Fatima Hassan.

"Our children are paying for a political problem that will never end. Every day I hope that I will find all my students in the class safe and healthy because with this insecurity no one can build their future," said Marian Abdul-Kader, a local primary school teacher.

In a statement on Wednesday, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was repulsed and outraged by the deaths of the large number of children, among other civilians. He condemned in the strongest terms the "senseless act of violence".

Annan has also said repeatedly that "there can be no justification for the deliberate targeting of civilians - much less children, who are our hope for the future. Nothing will be accomplished by today's killing of innocents."

This is the second such bombing in which a large number of children have been killed. In September 2004, a car bomb at a water-pumping plant inauguration in Baghdad killed at least 35 youngsters.


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