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Thursday's Basrak hotel bombing

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Old March 21st 04, 07:15 AM
John Keeney
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Default Thursday's Basrak hotel bombing

"When I arrived, there was already quite a crowd gathered in front of the
hotel where the rigged car exploded. It was an '82 model Mercedes, and it
was apparently not a suicide attack since the car, or what had remained of
it, was in the middle of the street in front of the Marbid hotel. Basrah IP
and Brits had arrived and were trying to keep the crowd away from the site
but no use. They shouted from loud speakers that another rigged car might
still be around, but no one budged from their positions.

"All of a sudden there was a commotion. Two bearded guys were being dragged
amidst the crowd by the police. It seemed that they were suspects. The mob
got enraged and someone shouted "Don't let the British take them away! Kill
the Wahhabi *******s now!". Everyone stormed forward and slippers and shoes
were thrown at the two bewildered men. Someone sprang out of nowhere and
stabbed one of them in the back, and that was that. He got trampled by the
angry crowd, and I saw knives, sticks, and qamat (long blades) flashing. The
police half heartedly attempted to dissipate them, but it was only until
Brits started firing in the air that they left him, but he was obviously
dead then, only a bloody mess was left of him. They were put into a British
Land Rover and taken away. It turned out later that they had nothing to do
with the attack.

"The mob looked deadly and dangerous. They proceeded to throw stones and
shoes at the British while shouting "Hussein, Hussein". There was shooting
again so I slipped away for cover. The area was surrounded so it looked like
I was trapped. Even reporters and camera men were shoved away by the British
soldiers. I was now very close to the burnt Mercedes, I moved on trying to
get as far away as possible from the crowd and I was treading carefully over
shattered glass. At one point I felt the ground was slippery, so I looked
down and almost got sick. I was walking on a pool of blood. Some bystanders
pointed out something, I thought that I would better not look, but curiosity
beat me. It was half a human head. It belonged to a once bald person, and
his brain and what looked like his guts were all over the place and on the
walls. He was the old man that sold groceries in front of the hotel. I
recalled buying bananas from him once with Omar and AYS when we used to stay
at these hotels at the time we first visited Basrah two months ago."


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