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American Forces Press Service

U.S., Iraqi Officials Condemn Terrorist Attack in Tal Afar

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2007 – U.S. and Iraqi officials have condemned a terrorist attack that killed dozens of civilians in Tal Afar, Iraq, yesterday.

“The Multinational Force Iraq commander joins the Iraqi prime minister in condemning the acts of violence and in calling upon the citizens of Tal Afar and all parties to cooperate in stemming the violence,” officials said in a statement released today. “The coalition force stands ready to lend assistance to our Iraqi partners in the coming days as well as to assist in enforcing the rule of law.”

Press reports put the number of dead at 50, with more than 100 others wounded.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the injured and to the families of those Iraqis martyred in Tal Afar,” the statement continued.

Late yesterday afternoon, a large explosion ripped through a busy marketplace in the Moalameen neighborhood of Tal Afar, causing extensive damage to buildings and homes, killing and wounding dozens.

"This was an act of cowardice and only demonstrates to the world how desperate this enemy is," said Army Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commander of Task Force Lighting and Multinational Division North. "The Iraqi people must stand united against these forces so the country can continued on its path to a free and democratic state," he continued.

Iraqi Security Forces responded immediately to the scene and began setting up triage and facilitating evacuation of wounded civilians caught in the blast area. Soldiers from the 3rd Iraqi Army Division immediately dispatched medical assets from their headquarters in Kisik.

Immediately following the attack, Iraqi and coalition forces from forward operating bases Marez and Sykes began working together to help the victims of this attack. Soldiers from the 3rd Iraqi Army Division provided ambulance support and heavy excavation equipment to remove rubble. Coalition forces provided security of the site and medical support to the victims and evacuated the wounded via helicopters to coalition and Iraqi medical facilities. Coalition explosives experts gathered evidence for the investigation and the hunt for the terrorists, U.S. officials said.

According to U.S. officials in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has formed a committee, which includes officials from the ministries of Defense and Interior, to investigate the attack.

“Those individuals or parties responsible for these horrific acts will be pursued and brought to justice in accordance with Iraqi law,” U.S. officials said.

Tal Afar officials have implemented a curfew in the city, restricting vehicle movements except for emergency transportation.

"The Iraqi police and army have come together with the Iraqi people in a true showing of solidarity against the terrorists in the aftermath of this horrific bombing," said Army Maj. Rodger Lemons, executive officer of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. "Every Iraqi in the area has offered everything they have to help those injured here, regardless of affiliation or differences. No effort is being spared, and coalition forces are assisting where needed."

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

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