Iraqi suicide bombing instructor accidentally kills himself and pupils
Published 11/02/2014 | 08:19
Over 20 trainee suicide bombers and their teacher were killed in Iraq when the tutor mistakenly detonated the bomb
An al-Qaeda instructor killed himself and 20 of his pupils when he accidentally set off a car bomb during a bungled training session in Iraq.
The explosion took place at an insurgents' camp near the town of Samarra, 60 miles north-west of Baghdad.
Security forces were drawn to the area by the sound of the explosion. They arrested 22 survivors, some of whom were wounded, and discovered seven fully prepared car bombs along with suicide belts packed with high explosive.
The dead instructor has not been named, but he was described as an experienced operative who specialised in training and recruitment. An Iraqi army officer told The New York Times that his final lesson had killed "the bad guys for once".
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an extremist group affiliated to al-Qaeda, ran this particular camp located in a largely Sunni area of central Iraq. ISIS also operates over the border in neighbouring Syria and controls areas of Anbar province in western Iraq.
Car bombs and suicide belts are often assembled in rural areas north and west of Baghdad, where the largely Sunni population is sometimes sympathetic to ISIS. The camp where the accident took place was concealed in an orchard outside the village of al-Jalam in a fertile area between the Tigris and Euphrates.
Bomb attacks carried out by ISIS and other extremist groups are claiming hundreds of lives in Iraq every month. The country is now enduring its bloodiest period since the sectarian civil war of 2006-07.
This is partly because Syria's own civil war has spread across its borders. In addition, Nouri al-Maliki, the Shia prime minister of Iraq, has adopted a sectarian and autocratic approach to government, purging Sunni ministers and driving many members of this minority to violent resistance.
America believes that ISIS has about 2,000 fighters in Iraq, led by a designated "international terrorist" known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The discovery of the training camp amounts to one of the few setbacks for ISIS's campaign in recent months.