Attack on Iraqi Students Kills 1, Wounds 80

afp_iraqi_woman_medical_care_02may10_eng_3001.jpgTwo separate bombs exploded along the road leading into the northern Iraqi city of Mosul Sunday killing at least one person and wounding at least 80 others. The bombs exploded near buses carrying Christian students who were travelling to Mosul University. Violence targeting the large Christian community in and around the city continues to anger and worry residents.

The students were travelling by bus from Hamdaniya into Mosul when back to back bombs exploded with at least one blast tearing through the side of one of the buses, injuring dozens. Eyewitnesses say that shrapnel and shattered glass left many students dazed and bloodied, while a nearby shop-owner died from the force of the blast.

Al Baghdadiya TV showed the burned-out vehicle, apparently responsible for one of the blasts, being towed away from where it had exploded.

A young man whose head was bandaged, face puffy and swollen, explained what happened from his hospital bed. He said that after his bus reached a clearing in the road the explosion took place about 100 meters further on. He goes on to say that he wasn’t paying attention when the blast occurred, but that he believes that two cars exploded.

Another student described the situation on the bus after the explosions as “chaotic,” with students screaming and blood all over. “I won’t forget (this day) for the rest of my life,” he said.

Most of the young victims were taken to the trauma care center at the main hospital in the nearby Kurdish city of Irbil. Dr. Mohsen Shamzi says that most of the patients were in stable condition. He says that his hospital received a number of the victims from the explosion on the road to Mosul and that the doctors are treating them. He describes the condition of most of the students as stable, except for at least one who is in critical condition.

A local Kurdish politician condemned the terrorist attack on the Christian students, adding that he held the Baghdad government responsible for what happened. He says that he condemns this “criminal and cowardly act” and wishes a speedy recovery to all the students who were injured. He says that he offers his sympathy to Iraq’s Chaldean Christian community (to which the students belong) and hopes that they will remain steadfast in the face of these awful attacks against them, day in and day out. He adds that he condemns the criminals behind the attacks as well as the government for allowing them to take place.

Christians in the violence-wracked northern city of Mosul have repeatedly been victimized by terrorist attacks in recent weeks and months. Some Sunni fundamentalists consider Christians to be infidels and supporters of the Shiite-led government in Iraq. Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch urged authorities to protect Christians and other minorities in Iraq.