At Large

Explosions and Kidnappings

The "insurgents" are back in business in downtown Baghdad.

By 10.25.05

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BAGHDAD (Oct. 24) -- A series of massive explosions hit Baghdad at sunset this evening. The explosions are now reported to have been two car bombs and, for good measure, a cement truck filled with explosives! They were detonated right in front of the Palestine Hotel where many in the media are housed. The AP and others were notified ahead of time so that they could focus their cameras on the event and record it for history.

Given the front row seats the media occupied for this latest terrorist extravaganza, the TV footage was on the air instantaneously. Anyone who witnessed the explosions seen on TV will have to admit the terrorists did put on quite a show.

Casualty reports were slow to filter out but, as I write, the number of dead is reported to be 10. The third of the three explosions took place in the familiar surroundings of the Saddam statue that was hauled down April 9, 2003.

At the moment of the largest explosion I was sitting in a meeting in our offices about a half mile away. The sound and the concussion were literally breathtaking! I have not seen any damage to our place yet, but our neighbors across the street lost a few windows. The glaziers of Baghdad must love those terrorists!

The subject of the meeting I was attending was closely related to the war and to the reconstruction. One of our contractors, who is working on one of many jobs for which I have written proposals, was kidnapped from inside his home early one evening several days ago. The kidnappers, dressed as Iraqi police (their favorite disguise), arrived in a police SUV. They first beat up the contractor's 80-year-old mother, bound and gagged her, and locked her in a room.

Before rushing off the kidnappers stole all the money and gold in the house, demanded the key to the late model European car, threw the blindfolded victim into the trunk, and sped off.

The kidnappers were heard from the next morning. "Negotiations" are underway. I will not report on anything that has been demanded or on where things stand. Suffice it to say that anytime someone is kidnapped in Baghdad the eventual outcome is unknowable.

People I know say the fact the kidnappers engaged in such a stealing spree shows this is basically a "financial caper." But who is to say that bunch of killers wouldn't dream of taking a moment from their grisly work to steal lots of cash and gold? After all, this is how they finance their operations and all their murder sprees.

In our company, we are particularly cautious because one of the things the kidnappers never leave behind is the victim's cell phone. That is always a rich source of information and phone numbers that can be used to seek new victims or to help in the ransom negotiations.

This is the second of our contractors to be kidnapped in the past three weeks. The previous victim was a woman in her mid-40s who has her own company. She was kidnapped in front of her house by a gang of between 10 to 12 terrorists. They first beat up her husband and young son who were standing with her, then fled in a get-away car that was in front of the house next door.

The kidnappers held her for 13 days before releasing her for a ransom I have heard of $200,000. Before dumping her out of a moving car, the "insurgents" (as the MSM refer to terrorists) broke most of her ribs with a baseball bat. Since that didn't seem to satisfy them, they also broke many of the bones in her face with the same bat.

Never let it be said that these Islamists are savages, because we must never forget that one man's savage is another man's "freedom fighter."

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