A wave of anger and condemnation prevailed throughout Iraq in the wake of terrorist bombings that struck a number of Iraqi cities on Monday (May 10th) and in which scores were killed and wounded.
Hundreds of Iraqis on Tuesday descended on Suwayrah, Hilla, Basra, Mosul and Baghdad– where the attacks took place-- to bury the bodies of bombing victims and denounce the attacks.
In Suwayrah, Iraqis buried the bodies of four children younger than 6 years old who were killed during a car bomb explosion driven by a suicide bomber targeting a popular market in the midtown area. Mourners chanted slogans denouncing terrorism and sectarianism and called for unity among Iraqis to confront terrorism.
"I won't rest until I see them all in prison. The cries of this beloved child will burn their bodies while they are still alive," Farid Naji, the uncle of Abbas, a 4-year old child killed in the bombing, said.
"The terrorists have doomed themselves to damnation and death by killing innocent children," Naji added. "May God damn them. We will see their end soon."
In the city of Hilla, Babil province, scores of Iraqi Sunnis and Shias gathered Monday for an emergency meeting at the local council building. They signed a covenant pledging to co-operate with the security forces to combat terrorism in the province and to donate blood to people wounded in these bombings in all Iraqi cities.
Hussain Jassim, a representative of the Babil Democratic Rally, said that "Monday's attacks didn't target the Shias only or the Sunnis. They targeted everyone. Most of the victims were women, children and poor working class Iraqis."
"Even when the citizens went to donate blood, no names were written on blood bags when they went to the hospital," Jassim added. "In this way, the blood of Sunnis and Shias was mixed forever. This is the best response to their attempts to sow discord among Iraqis."
Iraqi government spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement Monday evening that "fingerprints of al-Qaeda are clear on the acts of violence that hit the country today."
"Through these operations, al-Qaeda aims to disrupt the political and security situation in the country, especially in this period when the country is forming the new Iraqi government," al-Dabbagh added.
"I don't believe that these bombings will have an effect on the normal life of Iraqis or will lead to a drop in the security level and the general improvement that Iraqi is now witnessing."
Al-Dabbagh said the ideal solution to end violence in the country "will be through the Iraqi forces that the citizens now trust that they have the ability to arrest perpetrators."
Baghdad Operations Command spokesperson Gen. Qassim Atta said that "the attacks Iraq has witnessed showed the extent of weakness that al-Qaeda suffers now. These bombings won't be the start of new attacks by the terrorists."
Atta added that most of the "cowardly attacks were targeting markets, construction workers and unarmed citizens using malicious, treacherous ways showing their hatred and black thinking. It is a ring in the chain of their last operations, as they are now taking their last breath. It's an expected and hysterical reaction from them to the painful blows that they have been dealt recently."
Parliamentarian Ahmed al-Elwani said that "the attacks are futile and will only boost the unity and solidarity of Iraqis. Now the enemy is one and its goals are clear to everyone: it wants to turn Iraq into a dark night. However, this won't happen."
"The aspirations of the killers were contrary to what they hoped for," he said. "These bombings have enhanced the unity and solidarity of Iraqi sects and gave them strength and determination to continue to expel the terrorists and chase them wherever they are until the last element is eliminated."
Citizens expressed outrage and pointed the finger at al-Qaeda.
"Al-Qaeda has killed children in Fallujah and in Mosul and Basra," said Hajj Farhan Ali, 56, a resident of Fallujah. "They are just a blind killing machine. We have to be just one front and one defensive line against the killers."
Saleh Barakat, 34, said, "al-Qaeda was created to kill people. As for us, we were created to fight them and to rid humanity of them. They have taken the smile off the faces of children and have stolen lives from Iraqi households."
Sabri al-Jaf, a resident of Baghdad, called on the families of the victims to have just one funeral pavilion to receive the mourners
"This is because we're just one family and we all have to be against terrorism," he said. "We hope that the government will calm our anger by killing or arresting them before the blood of victims dries."