Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Years, Baghdad

The New Year arrived with a bang in Baghdad. I was comfortably in bed this morning, sleeping off the aftereffects of last night'’s BBQ -– or Braai, as the South Africans call it. Around 9 or so, the room shakes from the loudest explosion I have ever heard. A barrage of gunfire follows, clearly emanating from inside the compound. The sound was loud enough that I approached the window expecting to see one of the buildings in our compound destroyed.

A plume of smoke was rose from the street. The bomb was a few hundred meters away from the compound. The suicide bomber had targeted a passing police convoy, not our compound. Our security staff says that two Iraqi policemen were killed, but the media is not reporting any casualties among the dead.

I heard many of the eight bombs explode, which is more than I'’ve heard in any day before. I've noted before that general perceptions of the dangers in Iraq do not match the reality, and this is especially strong evidence for that point. Today's bombings read like a footnote, but they were frighteningly close. Not unexpected. I received many emails asking me if I was alright after the Amman bombings, though I was in Baghdad at the time. All of today'’s emails are asking me "“how was your new years?"


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