The Hamra’s Been Hit

BEIRUT — I’ve heard from friends that my hotel compound in Baghdad has been hit by two car bombs in an almost identical attack as the one that hit the Palestine Hotel complex on Oct. 24. The first car bomb “vaporized” the blast walls on the back corner, but left so large a crater that the second bomb couldn’t get through. The damage was thus moderated.

That’s of little solace to the families of the six Iraqis who died. One of them may have been a guard for the compound, and the rest seem to be Iraqis who lived in an apartment building on the outside of the wall. Casualty reports are still a little fuzzy, however. One of my friends told me that the foot of one of the bombers landed at the front steps of the hotel.

This will send shockwaves through the journo-tribe in Baghdad. I would not be surprised to see several organizations deciding that Baghdad is no longer safe enough to work and pull out. Or they may move to the Green Zone, joining Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal.

This is exactly what I feared would happen, following the Palestine attacks.

UPDATE 10:41 AM NOV 19: Here are links to some of the stories from my friends:

There is already some movement among the reporters to raise money for the families who were affected.