Shellings and kidnappings

Today was a bad one. Another friend was kidnapped last night, and this morning a mortar shell hit our compound. Thankfully, my friend was released after a day — but he was very lucky. (More details to come tomorrow after he leaves the country.) The mortar caused no real damage, hamdillah, but hit a house near one of the hotels in the compound. The explosion, in size and intensity, sounded exactly like the car bomb that hit the Karma hotel back in May.

Staying here is becoming increasingly untenable. There’s talk of TIME moving me up north for a couple of months, which would be a welcome change, to be honest. I’ve not been able to get out of the compound, and after the kidnapping, I’m disinclined to even make the attempt. The bottom line is I can’t work like this and I’m getting more and more frustrated, as I’ve mentioned. Hopefully, by moving to the north for a little while, my work will improve and so will my state of mind.

More as the situation develops, but things are changing here in Baghdad — for the worse.

UPDATE 2321 +0300 And now a large car bomb with many casualties — in first reports — has just gone off down the street from our compound.