Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Three Cheers for the Iraqis! [J. Mark English]

Every little bit of positive news out of Iraq helps. This time its the soccer team that provides some rare happy news. Once was, that if the soccer team did poorly in competition, the sons of Saddam Hussein would torture the players. Free from that fear, the team showed what they were capable of against South Korea in the Asian Cup.

However, the celebration got a bit out of hand... Here is more from Reuters:

Gunfire erupted across Baghdad on Wednesday as Iraqis celebrated their national soccer team's victory over South Korea to reach the final of the Asian Cup.

Iraq won 4-3 in a penalty shootout to reach the Cup final for the first time.

Iraqis poured into the streets of Baghdad, waving national flags and cheering. An Iraqi television reporter choked back tears of joy as he joined the celebrations on a Baghdad street.

State television flashed a warning from military commanders urging people not to fire guns into the air. The warning appeared to go unnoticed as people fired pistols and AK-47 assault rifles.

Firing weapons into the air is a tribal tradition at times of celebration but the bullets often kill people on the ground.

Three people died and about 50 were wounded after Iraq beat Vietnam on Saturday to reach the semi-finals.

Iraqis in the autonomous northern region of Kurdistan even waved Iraqi flags in a rare display of national unity. Kurds normally view the Iraqi flag as an Arab symbol.

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