Bird cage bomb kills 15 in Baghdad
A bomb disguised as a birdcage killed 15 animal lovers in a Baghdad pet market today, in the latest attack apparently designed to disrupt a city-wide security crackdown.Creative mass murder and war crimes are still the main weapons of the enemy in Iraq. Perhaps it is too much to hope that the media would identify it as such.
Police said insurgents concealed the explosives inside a cardboard box punched with holes to make it appear a container for pigeons, parrots or other birds which are prime attractions at the market.
The blast, which also wounded 55, hit the Ghazel market on the eastern banks of the Tigris just before the weekly curfew intended to protect crowds attending mosques during noon prayers on the Islamic day of prayer.
Raad Hassan, a regular buyer at the market, said one man arrived with an egg carton containing pigeons for sale then walked off - apparently to get a drink - leaving it to explode as potential buyers gathered around to examine the contents.
"I was about 60 meters from the blast," he said. "My friends and I rushed to the scene where we saw burned dead bodies, pieces of flesh and several dead expensive puppies and birds."
He said dead animals were scattered around and snakes, monkeys and birds escaped from their cages as emergency vehicles converged on the scene, their sirens mixed with the chirping of birds around the city centre market.
Next to the 13th century Sunni Ulama Mosque the former textile industry industrial area has served as an animal market for decades. However, many sellers have left Iraq since the violence began, and set up business in neighbouring countries such as Jordan.