Attacks on neighbourhood football fields are a new phenomenon in Iraq. The first attacks took place only a few months ago [Editor’s Note: It occurred in late February and caused 18 deaths]. These attacks are taking place both on makeshift football fields in residential neighbourhoods and on fields where amateur teams play. Most of the time, they are hit by car bombs or regular bombs. These attacks do not target a particular community or area [football field attacks have been taking place in Baqubah, a primarily Sunni city, as well as Hilla, a primarily Shiite city south of Baghdad]. In fact, we don’t even know who is behind them.
Football fields are being targeted because crowds gather there, especially during adult matches, where there are often large groups of supporters. By attacking such places, terrorists know there will be many civilian victims. This is their main motivation: to sow terror in the streets so that our cities will slowly die. In fact, since the start of Ramadan [on July 10], policemen have been asking the owners of cafés to close after 8pm, even though tradition dictates that people go out in the evenings during Ramadan after the breaking of the fast. But the authorities are very concerned that these crowds may incite further attacks.
The army and police dug these holes, which, to me, are a symbol of massive failure. Due to their inability to ensure residents’ safety, the authorities are denying them the few means of distraction that they have left. In the end, the terrorists won, since this is what they wanted.