Iraqis vent anger over al-Hilla attack

Hundreds of Iraqi Shia have staged protests in Baghdad and Karbala against the alleged involvement of a Jordanian in a devastating bombing in al-Hilla two weeks ago.

    The crowds wanted Amman to pay compensation

    Crowds gathered outside the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad on Sunday shouting: "No, no to Jordan, close your embassy, we do not want to see you here."
      
    They urged the government to file charges against the family of Raid al-Banna, who the Iraqi media says carried out a car bombing on 28 February that killed at least 118 people and wounded scores more.
      

    They also demanded compensation for victims from Amman, which rejected the accusations against it and said it condemned the bombing, the worst single attack in Iraq since the US-led invasion in March 2003.
      

    According to media reports, al-Banna's family organised a funeral for him during which he was a hailed as "a martyr".
      

    "We condemn the act and we condemn what the family has done," Jordanian Foreign Minister Hani Mulki said.
      

    Devastating attack

     

    "The Jordanian government has condemned more than once all kinds of terrorism and criminal acts committed by terrorists in Iraq, including attacks against civilians," added government spokeswoman Asma Khudr.

     

    The attack in al-Hilla killed at
    least 118 people

    Al-Banna's father Mansur has denied his son might have been involved in the bombing at al-Hilla.
      

    He said he received a phone call on 3 March from someone speaking with an Iraqi accent telling him his son had become "a martyr".
      

    Al-Banna's family says it had not heard from him since mid-February when he went to Saudi Arabia and called to say he had found work there.

      

    His relatives say he was a devout Muslim who became more religious about six months ago, but denied he had links to Jordanian born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, blamed for attacks in the violence-torn country.
      

    The bombing in al-Hilla, which targeted former civil servants lining up for a medical check-up at a clinic in the predominantly Shia city, was claimed by al-Zarqawi's group in an internet statement.

    SOURCE: AFP


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