Bombs tore through apartment buildings and a market in mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad on April 5th, killing 50. The attacks appeared to be an attempt by al-Qaida in Iraq or other extremists to exploit a power vacuum during the lengthy negotiations to form a new government. About 120 people have been killed in and around the capital over the past several weeks.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and U.S. Forces in Iraq strongly condemn these latest terrorist attacks against innocent civilians. The U.S. especially deplores the targeting of foreign diplomatic missions in Baghdad, and expresses its solidarity with its diplomatic colleagues who are in Iraq to help the Iraqi people. "Despite the ruthless killings of innocent Iraqis," said U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill and General Ray Odierno in a joint statement, "we feel confident that the forward progress of Iraq will continue. Notwithstanding these attempts at intimidation, we believe Iraqis will not be deterred from working towards a stable, sovereign and self-reliant Iraq. And Iraq's friends will help them."
The government of Iraq and Iraq security forces have the lead in investigating these incidents and are working hard to prevent future attacks. The U.S. stands ready to provide support to the government of Iraq and Iraqi Security Forces as requested.
Iraq has just completed a very credible election process. It is now critical that the various parties complete the challenging task of building a coalition government -- one that can respond to the needs and aspirations of the Iraqi people. The overwhelming majority of the Iraqis rejects sectarian violence and wants a democratic government that can provide peace and security.
The U.S. and the Iraqi Security Forces have worked tirelessly to combat terrorism and restore stability and relative peace in Iraq. Those responsible for these attacks seek to create chaos and uncertainty to prevent Iraqis from building a peaceful and prosperous society. They must not be allowed to succeed.