Most recent Baghdad pet market bombing is solved, says admiral
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2007:
BAGHDAD–U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Gregory Smith on November 24,
2007 told reporters that four members of an Iranian-backed Shiite
“special groups cell” had confessed to bombing the al-Ghazl pet
market in central Baghdad the preceding day.
The bombing, the fourth attack on the al-Ghazl pet market in
two years, killed at least 15 people and wounded 56, along with
killing and injuring countless birds, fish, and other animals.
The four suspects were captured overnight by U.S. and Iraqi
troops, Smith said. They were linked to the bombing by “subsequent
confessions, forensics, and other intelligence,” Smith explained.
Reported CNN, “Smith said the attackers wanted people to
believe that the bomb, packed with ball-bearings to maximize
casualties, was the work of al-Qaida in Iraq so that residents would
turn to Shiite militias for protection.”
As in a January 2007 al-Ghazl bombing, the bomb was
apparently hidden in a box of birds. Fifteen people were killed and
55 wounded in that attack.
A month earlier, militants launched a mortar shell into the
market, killing three and wounding 28, and in June 2006 four people
were killed and 50 wounded in a double bombing.
The al-Ghazl pet market has no particular sectarian
association with either the Shiite or Sunni factions who are fighting
for control of Baghdad, nor with the U.S. occupation of the city.
ANIMAL PEOPLE pointed out in March 2007 that the Ghazl attacks
appeared instead to indicate the involvement of non-Iraqis espousing
a strain of extreme Islamic fundamentalism most often seen in
Afghanistan and adjacent parts of Pakistan.
The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2003,
allied with al-Qaida, believe Islam forbids keeping birds in cages.
After capturing Kabul, the Afghan capital city, they forced the
release of all caged birds, including those who depended for
survival on human feeders.