Iraq soccer win a defeat for al Qaeda


Thousands of Iraqis have spilled onto the streets to celebrate their football squad's Asian Cup victory, firing guns into the air despite a government ban.

Iraq beat Saudi Arabia 1-0. Celebratory gunfire was heard in Baghdad, where authorities had banned vehicles and urged fans not to gather.

It was feared crowds could be targets for bombers. Some 50 people died in attacks after Wednesday's semi-final.

Correspondents say Iraq's progress has temporarily united the divided country.

The team includes Sunni and Shia Muslims, as well as Kurds.

Thousands of Iraqis, who had been following the match in Indonesia on television, rushed into the streets of the capital and other cities to celebrate.

The crowds in Baghdad included members of the security forces. Guns were fired into the air despite an earlier warning by the authorities that any such displays would be punished.

"It's a huge success for Iraq and it's a very, very good news for Iraq," Iraq's national security adviser Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie told the BBC.

"You should come to see the jubilation and the joy which is spreading all over Baghdad's streets now. People are pouring in, hundreds of thousands of people are pouring into the streets."

Meanwhile, at the stadium in Jakarta, the BBC's Lucy Williamson said the atmosphere was electric.

She said there was huge sympathy and support in Indonesia for the Iraqi team, for their difficulties in training and the continuing violence at home.

After the teams previous win al Qaeda tried to steal the Iraqis joy by using car bombs in Baghdad. This time the government banned car traffic.

Al Qaeda is an organization that finds joy only in the mass murder of non combatants. When their Islamist soul brothers took over Afghanistan, the Taliban used the soccer stadium for public executions. In Somalia they banned the showing of the World Cup soccer event to prevent people from having any enjoyment. The celebration of the Iraqis over anything must have Osama's boys in a funk, much less over something as "frivolous" as a soccer tournament.

CNN covered the celebratory gunfire after the win. It reported one US serviceman joked that, "with the victory, the war was over and they could return home,watched as saying, " Unfortunately the al Qaeda thieves of job will probably be back soon.


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