10/01/2004, 00.00
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Terrorism strikes at children . . . again

Baghdad car bomb is a "heroic act" according to al-Zarqawi.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Islamic terrorists keep on killing children hailing bomb attacks as "heroic operations", this despite Islam's explicit injunction to protect children even in a war zone.

Instead, after last month's Beslan massacre, a series of car bombs were set off across a Baghdad neighbourhood yesterday causing the single deadliest attack involving children since the beginning of the war in Iraq.

In a co-ordinated operation, three cars exploded near a passing US military convoy in the south-western part of the city killing 43 people, 34 of them children, and wounding another 131. Many are in serious conditions.

According to hospital sources the high number of children among the dead was due to the fact that one of the car bombs was detonated as crowds gathered for the opening of a water treatment plant –an essential service for a city like Baghdad– in the working class neighbourhood of el-Amel as US troops were handing out sweets, especially to children.

Like the tragedy in Beslan, yesterday's attacks were claimed by Islamic terrorists, this time Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group, which is tied to al-Qaeda.

In a statement posted on an internet site used by Islamic militants, the group hailed the "heroic operations" saying that Zarqawi supporters had attacked "a convoy of invading forces", though it remains unclear whether it referred to the blasts at the water plant or elsewhere. Experts are still analysing the statement to determine its exact origin.

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