Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Horrible Tragedy Involving Iraqi Soccer Fans

Iraqis have experienced many tragedies over the past few years. Their country has been at war for over four years, and frequent bombings, explosions and kidnappings have become commonplace. However, it seemed that there was something that the Iraqis, at least the ones who enjoyed soccer, could find some solace in.

Their soccer team had made a strong showing in their first two games of the Asian Cup, and as the team prepared for a match against two-time champion South Korea their fans prepared too(via Deadspin).

"Iraqi fans have been stocking up on gasoline and ammunition in preparation for their national soccer team's Asian Cup semi-final against South Korea on Wednesday.

Ibrahim al-Musawi said he had already brought 20 litres of gasoline to make sure he could fuel his small generator to watch the whole match as Iraq's national power grid provides electricity for only a few hours a day.

'This is one of the strongest Iraqi sides ever and they fill us with pride,' Musawi told Reuters.

'We are tired of the sadness that always surrounds us. I sometimes wish we are always playing in international tournaments so we can remain happy."

Unfortunately, that happiness was bittersweet even after a victory over South Korea that put the Iraqi team into the finals. While thousands of people were celebrating in the streets, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in separate attacks killing 50 people and wounding 136 more.
"Two suicide bombers struck soccer fans celebrating Iraq's victory in the Asian Cup on Wednesday, killing at least 50 and wounding 136, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said.

The victims were among the thousands who took to the streets of the capital after the country's national soccer team beat South Korea to reach the tournament's final.

The first attack took place about 6:30 p.m. when a bomber exploded in a crowd of people cheering near a well-known ice cream parlor in Baghdad's western neighborhood of Mansour, according to police and hospital officials.

Another suicide car bomber detonated his payload about 45 minutes later in the midst of dozens of vehicles filled with revelers near an Iraqi army checkpoint in the eastern district of Ghadeer."

That is horrible to hear. I can't imagine fearing for my life after celebrating the Gators win over Ohio State this past January. It's something that we take for granted everyday, and my heart goes out to the Iraqi fans that were supporting their team and lost their lives in the process.

FYI, Iraq meets Saudi Arabia in the final in Jakarta on Sunday.

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