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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


02 March 2004

CPA Releases $100,000 in Emergency Funds Following Karbala Attack

At least 143 Iraqis killed in attacks aimed at Shi'a worshipers

The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) allocated $100,000 in immediate emergency funds to assist the victims of March 2 terror attacks in the Iraqi city of Karbala.

"The terrorist attacks were made against innocent Iraqi men, women, and children. The terrorists are trying to strike discord in the holy city of Karbala and against stability in Iraq. The terrorists are attempting to undermine Iraq as the country moves toward democracy and full sovereignty," the CPA said in a press release.

Nearly simultaneous attacks in the capital Baghdad and in the holy city of Karbala apparently targeted Iraqi Shi'a worshipers observing the holy day of Ashura. Ashura, which commemorates the martyring of Imam Hussein, is one of the most important events in the Shi'a religious year. Multiple suicide bombings and possibly mortars were used in the attacks in the two cities where more than 140 people were killed and about 400 were wounded.

This year is the first time in more than three decades that Iraq's Shi'a have been able to freely observe this holy day.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, officials from the Iraqi Governing Council and the CPA suspect the involvement of Abu Musab Zarqawi. A recently intercepted letter from Zarqawi laid out a strategy for fomenting sectarian divisions within Iraq in an effort to undermine any movement towards a pluralistic democracy.

"Certainly, one of the chief suspects in this would be Zarqawi, just by the methods that have been used in the past, just by the techniques that have been used in the past," said Army Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt during a March 2 news conference in Baghdad.

CPA Coordinator for Karbala John Berry condemned the attacks and offered condolences to the families of those killed and wounded.

"As Ambassador Bremer's representative in Karbala, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the people of this holy city, to the families of those who were murdered and to those who were injured," Berry said.

"I am deeply saddened that terrorists have marred the solemn commemoration of the death of al-Imam al-Hussein. CPA will work closely with the people of Karbala and local police to apprehend the perpetrators of this terrible crime," he added.

Following is the press release from the CPA:

(begin text)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2004

CONTACT
Karbala Province
Andrew Dickson
andrewdicksontaipei@mac.com

CPA South Central
Hilary F. White
703-343-9631
hilary.white@CPA-IQ.ORG

EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUNDS FOR KARBALA

Karbala, Iraq. The Coalition Provisional Authority responded to the attacks on innocent Iraqi citizens in Karbala today by allocating $100,000 to assist immediately with emergency services and injuries.

The terrorist attacks were made against innocent Iraqi men, women, and children. The terrorists are trying to strike discord in the holy city of Karbala and against stability in Iraq. The terrorists are attempting to undermine Iraq as the country moves toward democracy and full sovereignty.

Mr. John Berry, CPA Governorate Coordinator for Karbala Province, has monitored today's terrible events closely with the Iraqi Police and Coalition military commanders. He stated:

"As Ambassador Bremer's representative in Karbala, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the people of this holy city, to the families of those who were murdered and to those who were injured. I am deeply saddened that terrorists have marred the solemn commemoration of the death of al-Imam al-Hussein. CPA will work closely with the people of Karbala and local police to apprehend the perpetrators of this terrible crime."

CPA stands with the people of Karbala, and we will continue to assist them as they build a better life in a new democratic Iraq.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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