September 30, 2004: Car bombs in Iraq kill dozens, including many children

Terrorists linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq targeted US soldiers handing out candy to children in Baghdad, killing 30 and wounding 130.

Setting off a bomb targeting kids putting out their hands for candy? Seriously?

BAGHDAD, IRAQ — They say that because of COVID-19 this year’s Hallowe’en is going to be a bummer. The risk of catching the virus is just too high for many parents to send their kids out to go trick or treating. It’s not that the kids themselves are at greatest danger since – so far- the virus does not seem to affect them too seriously. No, it’s the adults, especially the older ones (like me!) that are in the greatest peril.

Hallowe’en sure has changed over the centuries, hasn’t it? What began as an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts, got usurped by the Catholic Church in the eighth century when Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints, incorporating some of the traditions of Samhain. Over time, of course, Halloween has evolved to include trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats.

It is the trick or treating part I want to focus on today. Kids love candy and kids love it when random strangers give them candy (careful: you have to their door on October 31 and say ‘trick or treat’ first – NEVER take candy from a stranger!). Dentists probably love this too as an overconsumption of candy leads to tooth decay.

So, who would not like seeing kids get free candy? Terrorists, that’s who.

On this day in 2004

On this day in 2004 jihadis associated with Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI -the precursor to Islamic State – ISIS) bombed US soldiers handing out candy to kids. 35 children were killed and another 131 wounded. While it is unclear whether the soldiers or children were targeted, it was the latter who suffered most.

“These people want to kill innocent children. Many people were killed and many were injured and they are all here now at the hospital and I am one of them.” 

Ahmed Hussein, a 14-year-old wounded by the blasts

I have often said that “there is no fun in FUNdamentalism”. Who the hell kills kids holding out their hands for candy? Heartless terrorists, that’s who.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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