Friday, February 01, 2008

Islamists Use Mentally Disabled Women as Bombs

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Two mentally disabled women were strapped with explosives Friday and sent into busy Baghdad markets, where they were blown up by remote control, a top Iraqi government official said.

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Iraqi soldiers secure the scene of a bombing Friday at a popular pet market in central Baghdad.

The bombs killed at least 98 people and wounded more than 200 at two popular pet markets on the holiest day of the week for Muslims, authorities said.

In both bombings, the attackers were mentally disabled women whose explosive belts were remotely detonated, Gen. Qasim Atta, spokesman for Baghdad's security plan, told state television.

Atta said the women were strapped with dynamite and ball bearings, citing members of the bomb squad. The explosives were detonated via cell phone, he said.

An Atta aide said that people referred to the bomber at central Baghdad's al-Ghazl market as the "crazy woman" and that the bomber at a second market had an unspecified birth disability.

The aide said authorities believe the women were unaware of plans to detonate the explosives.

The first bomb blew up at al-Ghazl animal market around 10:30 a.m., killing 69 and wounding more than 140. The second blast happened about a half-hour later in the New Baghdad neighborhood pet market, killing 29 people and wounding 67.

Al-Ghazl pet market is a popular destination where people buy and sell cats, dogs, monkeys and other animals. Attackers have struck the market on Fridays -- its busiest day -- several times in the last year or so.

A January 2007 bombing killed 15 and wounded 52 at the pet market, and 13 people died and 58 were wounded in a November attack.

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