Monday, January 25, 2010

Bombs target Baghdad hotels

The crater outside the Hamra Hotel in Baghdad after Monday's attack.

Smoke rises Monday following an explosion near Baghdad's Palestine Hotel.

A series of bombs targeted three hotels in Baghdad this morning, two of which are well-known as locations where journalists often stay.

The Palestine was the hotel that was shelled by American troops during the 2003 invasion, killing two journalists and wounding several others. The Al Hamra was where Time magazine's bureau was located when Michael Ware became bureau chief. More recently, it was home to the McClatchy and Christian Science Monitor bureaus. They left the hotel recently. John Walcott, the Washington bureau chief for McClatchy, sent out a note to his staff this morning about that move:
The recent move out of the Hamra was no accident, nor was it simply good luck. Hannah Allam, who oversees the Baghdad bureau from her base in Cairo, was in Iraq late last year overseeing the merger with the Monitor and was alarmed by the deteriorating security conditions at the hotel and some developments in the immediate neighborhood, most colorfully the openings of two brothels across the square, which in addition to their primary purpose provided an ideal place to survey the Hamra and its defenses without attracting much notice. The security force had shrunk to about half of what's needed, largely because NBC News has bailed out of Iraq and taken its budget with it, and one day workers arrived and began tearing down the blast walls, we suspect because of a dispute over payments to someone in authority.
The death toll from this morning's blasts currently stands at 36, with 71 injured; no journos have been reported to be among the dead/injured.

Read the rest of Walcott's note here.
Read McClatchy's coverage of the bombings here.

1 comment:

try albury hotel said...

Hello Cyn,

The photos give us a fair idea of how dangerous it would be living or visiting over there.. would want to have life insurance working over there as a journo... They never seem to stop with the killings in these counrties..