March 19, 2008 —
WASHINGTON (March 18, 2008) – The U.S Embassy in Baghdad and Multinational Force Iraq condemned the attack in Karbala that targeted civilians on their way to worship Monday.
“We join the Iraqi people in expressing our condolences to the families of the victims in this barbaric attack, which bears all the markings of having been carried out by al Qaeda in Iraq,” a joint statement from the U.S. embassy and Multinational Force Iraq said.
Coalition forces and Iraqi security forces are working closely to ensure medical and humanitarian aid for the victims and to apprehend those responsible for the attack, the statement said.
Forty people were killed and at least 65 were wounded when a suicide bomber detonated a vest in Karbala about 6 p.m. local time, Multinational Corps Iraq reported. The attack took place just before evening prayer services on a busy street that heads toward the Imam Hussayn shrine, officials said.
Karbala police established security around the site, officials said. Iraqi security forces are continuing to investigate, and the identity of the attacker has not been confirmed.
Also in Iraq, Multinational Division Baghdad forces seized a weapons cache in southern Baghdad on March 14.
Soldiers from the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, seized pistols, a machinegun, two bludgeons, a sword, an assault rifle, hand grenades, 1.2 million dinar, $400, various ammunitions, magazines and military equipment while conducting a patrol in the capital’s Doura neighborhood.
Explosive ordnance disposal personnel moved the weapons before destroying them to prevent collateral damage.