Suicide Bomb Trainer in Iraq Accidentally Blows Up His Class
— If there were such a thing, it would probably be rule No. 1 in the
teaching manual for instructors of aspiring suicide bombers: Don’t give
lessons with live explosives.
what represented a cautionary tale for terrorist teachers, and a cause
of dark humor for ordinary Iraqis, a commander at a secluded terrorist
training camp north of Baghdad unwittingly used a belt packed with
explosives while conducting a demonstration early Monday for a group of
militants, killing himself and 21 other members of the Islamic State of
Iraq and Syria, army and police officials said.
citizens have long been accustomed to daily attacks on public markets,
mosques, funerals and even children’s soccer games, so they saw the
story of the fumbling militants as a dark — and delicious — kind of
poetic justice, especially coming amid a protracted surge of violence
led by the terrorist group, including a rise in suicide bombings.
last week a suicide bomber struck a popular falafel shop near the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs here, killing several people. On Monday
evening Raad Hashim, working the counter at a liquor store near the site
of the attack, burst out laughing when he heard the news.
“This is so funny,” Mr. Hashim said. “It shows how stupid they are, those dogs and sons of dogs.”
More seriously, he said, “it also gives me pain, as I remember all the innocent people that were killed here.”
is God showing justice,” Mr. Hashim continued. “This is God sending a
message to the bad people and the criminals in the world, to tell them
to stop the injustice and to bring peace. Evil will not win in the end.
It’s always life that wins over death.”
resident of the area, who lives near the ministry building that was
targeted last week, said: “I heard this today when my friend rang me in
the afternoon to tell me about it. He was so happy as if he was getting
made me happy as well,” the resident said. “I hope that their graves
burn and all the rest of them burn as well. I was not happy with the
number killed, though: I wanted more of them to die, as I remember my
friend who was killed by a suicide bomber in 2007.”
is facing its worst violence in more than five years, with nearly 9,000
people killed last year and almost 1,000 people killed last month. On
Monday, a roadside bomb in Mosul, in northern Iraq, targeted the speaker
of Parliament, Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni, security officials said. Six
of his guards were wounded, but Mr. Nujaifi was unharmed, they said.
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria evolved from its previous incarnation
as Al Qaeda in Iraq, but recently Al Qaeda’s central leadership disavowed the group, which has taken on an increasingly important role in the fighting in Syria, as well as in Iraq.
with the increase in attacks on Iraqi civilians in Baghdad and
elsewhere, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other Sunni extremist
groups have captured territory in western Anbar Province, and for weeks
they have controlled the city of Falluja and parts of Ramadi, the
provincial capital. Other areas of the country have also become
strongholds of the Islamic State and of Al Qaeda.
training camps have been set up in the mountainous areas of Diyala
Province. Northern Nineveh Province has become a gateway for jihadis
traveling from Iraq to Syria. Mosul, Nineveh’s capital, has become a
center of financing for militant groups estimated by one Iraqi official
at millions of dollars a month, generated by extortion and other
attacks make up an increasing share of the operations financed by this
money stream. At a congressional hearing last week, Brett McGurk, a
senior State Department official, said 50 suicide attacks occurred in
Iraq in November, compared with three in November 2012. “The suicide
bomber phenomenon, it is complete insanity,” Mr. McGurk said.
addition to the 22 militants who were killed, 15 others were wounded in
the explosion on Monday at the militant compound, in a rural area of
northeastern Salahuddin Province, according to police and army
officials. Stores of other explosives, including explosives packed in at
least 10 vehicles, ready for operations, were found at the camp, as
well as heavy weapons, the officials said.
militants were arrested when they tried to escape, the officials said.
The militant commander who was conducting the training was not
identified by name, but an Iraqi Army officer described him as a
prolific recruiter who was “able to kill the bad guys for once.”
to the recruiting pitch that martyrdom is a sure ticket to heaven and
the virgins that await there, the officer added, “Maybe this suicide
bomber will really get to heaven as they say.”
at the liquor store in Baghdad on Monday evening, Mr. Hashim, in almost
a celebratory mood, passed four bottles of Corona to a customer and
took his money.
happened today was not death, but it was life to us,” Mr. Hashim said.
“Those 22 who were killed today might have killed hundreds of Iraqis,
hundreds of innocent souls. May they burn in hell.”
Duraid Adnan reported from Baghdad, and Tim Arango from Istanbul. Christine Hauser contributed reporting from New York.