Babylon & Beyond

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IRAQ: "My God what happened in those seconds!"

June 26, 2008 |  2:55 pm

It was, on the weighted scale of Iraq's horrors, one of the less serious attacks: Two people killed and as many as 90 injured. A footnote in the day's news reports.

Such cold calculations mean little to those who survived Tuesday's attack in the northern city of Mosul, where Iraqi security forces are waging a crackdown against Sunni Arab insurgents.

The suicide car bomber could not penetrate the defenses of his apparent target, a police station in the relatively secure Bab Jedeed neighborhood. But the blast destroyed a nearby coffee shop and severely damaged a number of homes, many of them in older buildings.

Policeman Ahmed Mohamed was collecting water bottles from a storage room when he heard his colleagues shouting that a car bomber was approaching.

"I didn't know how to react or what to do," he said. "In my astonished state, the explosion happened. I didn't have a chance to think. I found the entire storage [contents] on top of me. I passed out and now I'm in hospital with a broken hand and leg."

One of those killed in the blast was a policeman, hospital officials said. The other was a boy no older than 10.

In another hospital bed, Saman Subhi lay crying.

"The hardest thing during the moment of the explosion was the death of Omar, the child," he said. "He's my neighbor's son. I saw his body parts [scattered] near me. Moments before, he was playing with his companions and buying a snack ...

"My God what happened in those seconds!"

Two days later, tragedy struck again. Read here about the latest Mosul attacks.

- A Times special correspondent in Mosul.