Baghdad, Oct. 27 (Reuters): By the bloody, smoking rubble of one of the bombings which rocked Baghdad today, Iraqis wept or simply stared at the spot where people had chatted and shopped moments before being blown to pieces.
The suicide car bomber had planned to charge his vehicle into a police station and send a chilling message to Iraqis: anyone who cooperates with US occupation troops could be killed at any time.
But police opened fire, and the car exploded in a main shopping street just short of the station, sending burning pieces of metal in every direction in the teeming Shaab area. Eight people were killed.
Bombers struck four times in Baghdad’s morning rush hour today, killing at least 34 people near the ICRC building and several police stations.
Next to the Shaab police station, two cars blazed and stunned Iraqis watched firemen spray water into the rubble of a block of shops and apartments.
Shards of glass littered a barber’s shop. Sirens wailed as one ambulance after another raced away with casualties.
Nervous US soldiers with their fingers on triggers pushed back crowds of angry young men.
“How can anyone do this' What did these civilians do to deserve this'” said a man who watched the destruction from his balcony across the street.
The blast left a huge crater just outside the police station.It’s a scene that has become all too familiar in Baghdad as guerrillas determined to drive US troops out of the country have blown themselves up in attacks designed to spread as much terror as possible. US-backed Iraqi policemen have been prime targets.
A white horse lay in the street, blood flowing from its chest as police cars raced past. Rescue workers carried away remains so badly mutilated it was hard to tell whether they were of a human being or another animal.
US military helicopters equipped with heat-detecting observation devices circled overhead. The bitterness of post-war Iraq was palpable in the crowd of hundreds of Iraqis who watched the acrid smoke and bright yellow flames wafting from the building.
One teenager pointed in the direction of the bombing and said: “This is good.”
Many frustrated Iraqis appeared to be looking for a way to vent their rage as their neighbourhood burned.
One warned a crew of Western reporters to leave or they would be killed.