A US helicopter opened fire on an elementary school in Diyala province May 8, killing seven students and wounding three, according to Iraqi security sources and local residents. Iraqi sources said the helicopter was fired on from the ground and hit the school when it returned fire. Spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said the military was investigating the reports.
Meanwhile, a suicide car bomber attacked a crowded market in the Shi’ite holy city of Kufa, killing at least 16 and injuring more than 70. The bomb was detonated beside a restaurant and across the street from a girls’ primary school. A spontaneous protest led by al-Sadr forces gathered at the scene, blaming the Badr-led police and US forces for failing to protect against attacks.
The protesters and al-Sadr milita forces blocked the police and security forces from entering the area, and three responding ambulances were destroyed. Many of the injured eventually were piled into pickup trucks to be taken to the hospital.
Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Sa’id Hakim played down the sectarian dispute and blamed the bombing on “the terrorists and the Saddamists, who continue their criminal show that started when the Saddam [Hussein] regime fell.” (Newsday, May 9)