Sunday, the 20th June was a normal business day — the beginning of a new bright week. We were busy in our work at the Head Office of our bank. My office was in the basement of the building. The head office building was on the main road near Nissour Square, which rose to infamy because of Blackwater massacre three years ago, almost one month after I arrived in Baghdad for the first time.
The normal business hours begin in Baghdad at 8:00 am. It was around 11:00 am then. Suddenly, there was a huge, deafening, building-shaking sound. I was in the basement so couldn’t feel the shaking that much, but glass-panes were shattering. Thanks to the plastic film spread on the glass, we were saved from being hurt by broken glass pieces. Immediately, it was dark and my colleagues started crying and running down to the basement for safety. It was a blast! Yes, a bomb blast! Before we could find our bearing, there was another one! OMG, twin bomb blast!
The false ceilings started falling, the window panes came down in pieces. All shattered, people crying, trembling in fear — this is my first such experience. I haven’t heard any blast so close to me. It was indeed frightening — could hear the sound of the footsteps of death. For some time, there was no other sound.
Our security people started covering the building and taking it into their control. The government security forces also rushed in soon hearing the massive blast sounds. For some time we all remained huddled in the basement. Every minute seemed to be an hour. After several minutes passed and there was no more sound, we slowly started moving up from the basement. The security forces were looking for the possibility of any other bomb. They didn’t allow us to move towards the gate until they checked and sanitised the bank building and the surroundings.
When we moved out of our shattered building we found that there were two cars with explosives which hit the blast walls on the road. In Baghdad, every important house and office building has put RCC blast walls near the building to fortify it from any such attacks. Thanks to these blast walls, the suicide bombers couldn’t hit the main building. But the incident caused loss of life of our several security guards who were manning the gates and were guarding the office standing near the wall. The sight was horrific and we could see blood, torn and burnt limbs, fingers and body parts strewn around. May their brave souls rest in peace! They laid down their lives saving us. They’re real heroes!
We travel in bullet-proof, armoured cars in a convoy surrounded by armed vehicles from front and back in Baghdad. Our security details came and reached us home safely. Thank God! The sound of the blast, sight of blood and burnt pieces of human flesh was very disturbing. I heard that many civilians lost their life and more were injured, who were on the road or nearby at that time. RIP! My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
Yesterday, a month has been complete since then. The Incident is still fresh in my mind and I feel sad for those poor families, who lost their near and dear ones. I fail to understand the purpose, the logic of terrorists, who kill innocent people in the name of their faith. They’re cowards. Do they think that they will reach the Heaven? NEVER! They will never find peace.