Friday, February 01, 2008

Baghdad Market Massacre

Baghdad has been hit by the worst bomb attacks in the city for exactly six months. At least 64 people were killed in a double strike against a market in the Iraqi capital. Reports suggest the bombs were strapped to two mentally disabled women, who were then blown up by someone pressing a button somewhere else.

For a while things have been going well for the US and Iraqi Government. The extra American troops sent in last year, the ceasefire imposed by the head of the Shia militia group the Mehdi Army, and the troubles suffered by al Qaeda in battles with US-armed Sunni fighters, have all led to a sharp reduction in violence over the last six to nine months. Inevitably, a devastating attack such as this was going to break that relative peace eventually, and it seems the terrorists have been forced to resort to a particularly despicable tactic to carry out their crime this time. It's not enough to stop us being optimistic about Iraq, but it's certainly a setback. How serious depends on whether more attacks follow in the coming days and weeks.

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