Dual blasts pierce Baghdad’s Green Zone
WASHINGTON – Deadly bombings in Baghdad’s Green Zone have touched off a U.S. security review and a search for evidence to determine if terrorists linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi carried out the attacks.
Two bombers penetrated the tightly guarded area of the Iraqi capital and struck at a bazaar close to the U.S. Embassy annex and at a cafe. Witnesses said both carried backpacks and spent considerable time sipping tea in a cafe before striking.
At least three employees of the private U.S. security firm DynCorp were killed, one was missing and two were wounded. Three State Department workers were injured. At least six Iraqis died.
The DynCorp employees who were killed include John Pinsonneault, 39, of North Branch, Minn.; Steve Osborne, 40, of Kennesaw, Ga.; and Eric Miner, 44, of South Windham, Conn.
Ferdinand Ibaboa, 36, of Mesa, Ariz., is missing and presumed dead. The two wounded employees are John Jenkins, 39, of Meridian, Ga., who is hospitalized with serious injuries, and Michael Cannon, 34, of Holly Springs, N.C., who was treated and released.
The identities were released by Computer Service Corp., the parent company of DynCorp.
Condemning the bombings and extending sympathies to the families of the victims, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday, “Our people who go out (to Iraq) know that they are serving in dangerous circumstances.”
But, he said, “It’s obviously very sad and unfortunate when something happens to them or to the Iraqis who are working with them in the Green Zone and elsewhere in the country.”
Americans and Iraqis working at the embassy were instructed to remain inside the complex indefinitely. Boucher said an investigation and security sweeps were under way.
Security arrangements were put under immediate review. Boucher said it is “much too early to start speculating” about possible changes.
“Every time there is an incident like this we automatically look for what we can do to improve security for everybody who lives and works in these areas,” Boucher said.
Tawhid and Jihad, al-Zarqawi’s militant group, claimed responsibility for the blasts.
It was the first time a bomb was set off within the Green Zone. In the past, there have been rocket attacks from beyond the perimeter. Also, an explosive device was found in the zone recently.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a speech Wednesday night in Washington, spoke of “facing a difficult time in Iraq” while expressing confidence that the U.S.-led coalition gradually would gain the upper hand.