Breaking News: 60 Dead, 110 Wounded in University Bombing
Guerrillas used a car bomb and a suicide bomber to kill 60 persons, wounding 110 more, at the entrance to the Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, , according to Reuters. The article quotes a university official saying that most of the casualties were female students returning home.
CNN is reporting that a suicide bomber had placed himself so that when the police came in response to the first attack, he blew them up, too.
The bombings come just after the execution of Barzan al-Tikriti and Awad al-Bandar, Saddam Hussein’s two co-defendants. They also come at a time of renewed US and Iraqi army pressure on guerrilla cells in the capital, and at a time when the Iraqi press is reporting renewed vigor and organization in the deposed Baath Party.
University officials have cancelled classes for two days. This past fall, university professors had increasingly called off classes for security reasons, but the al-Maliki government, under US pressure to show progress toward normalization, threatened to fire instructors who did not hold classes. The government did not, however, provide any extra security to the universities.
On December 23, it was reported in the Iraqi press that female students at Mustansiriya University had been kidnapped, raped and killed. The Iraqi government vehemently denied these reports and closed a television channel that had carried them.
Although there is not exact continuity, a Mustansiriya College was founded in 1232 by the Abbasid Caliph al-Mustansir, and was one of the world’s early universities. It was disrupted by the Mongol invasion of 1258.