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6/6/04 - TERRORISM IN IRAQ - 2004-06-07

On June 30th, an interim government will assume sovereignty in Iraq and oversee the ministries and functions of the Iraqi state. But many challenges remain. And attacks against the U.S.-led coalition and against Iraqi civilians continue.

One recent victim is thirteen-year old Ali Abas Muhammad. Ali used to sell cigarettes and soft drinks at a small shop near a hotel in Baghdad. A few days ago a car bomb exploded nearby and took the teenager’s life. “The boy’s innocent. His blood is on those who committed this. They’re guilty,” says Matham Sami, a hotel worker. “We’ve been saved from Saddam Hussein, and now come these terrorists.”

President George W. Bush says that terrorists like those who killed Ali Abas Muhammad will not succeed:

“The killers know that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. The return of tyranny to Iraq would embolden the terrorists, leading to more bombings, more beheadings and more murders of the innocent around the world.”

The coalition will not be deterred by violence and terror, says President Bush:

“Violence underscores that freedom in Iraq is opposed by violent men who seek the failure not only of this interim government, but of all progress toward liberty. We will stand with the Iraqi people in defeating the enemies of freedom and those who oppose democracy in Iraq.”

The will of the Iraqis and the U.S.-led coalition is firm . And as the father of terrorist victim Ali Abas Muhammad said, “We are Muslims, and God will give us our rights.”