BAGHDAD, Iraq – A suicide truck bomber sent a deadly storm of metal, stone and jagged plaster through worshippers leaving a Sunni mosque Saturday, killing at least 39 in a possible sign of escalating internal Sunni battles between insurgents and those who oppose them. The motive for the attack was not clear. But it carried the hallmarks of an increasingly bloody struggle for control of Anbar province – a hotbed of anti-U.S. guerrillas since the uprising in Fallujah in 2004 that galvanized the insurgency. U.S. military envoys and pro-government leaders have worked hard to sway clan chiefs and other influential Anbar figures to turn against the militants, who include foreign jihadists fighting under the banner of al-Qaida in Iraq. The extremists have fought back with targeted killings and bombings against fellow Sunnis. The blast in Habbaniyah – in the heart of insurgent territory about 50 miles west of Baghdad – was among the deadliest against civilians in Anbar. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The imam of the mosque had spoken out against extremists – most recently in Friday’s sermon, residents said. Many people in the neighborhood work for the Iraqi military and police forces, who frequently come under militant attack. The truck, filled with building materials such as stone and plaster board, was blown apart as worshippers left following midafternoon prayers. Rescuers, including U.S. soldiers, pulled survivors from the debris. The U.S. military sealed off the area and said it opened its medical facilities to “the most life-threatening injuries” among the more than 60 hurt. Police official Lt. Abdul-Aziz Mohammed placed the death toll at 39, but authorities warned it could rise.
I didn’t know what emotion I would feel if and when this ever happened. Baylor fired Art Briles on Thursday which means it is taking the culture of sexual assault thing more seriously than I imagined (which is obviously a great thing).Baylor dismisses coach Art Briles, source told @ESPN. Briles informed players via text, source said. Announcement expected at noon ET— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) May 26, 2016So the primary emotion I feel as I read about this and think about the past and future is sadness. We get all worked up about football games and winning Big 12 titles and which team beat which other team, and it leads us to forget about the real lives of the humans involved with all of these activities.I’m talking about the victims of assault and rape, for sure, but also about the coaches and players who have to live with the horrific things that are in that soon-to-be-released report for the rest of their lives (and they were definitely horrific for Art Briles to have been fired).You think Art Briles got into coaching thinking he’d ever be canned from a top 10 team because of some widespread sexual assault? No.Knew that was coming…— Ryan Simmons (@RS_52) May 26, 2016But here we are. The fallout will likely be more horrendous than the actual firing. As my new colleague over at CBS noted, this is sort of just the beginning for Baylor.Remember: what’s happening today (and may happen next week) is just the beginning. This is not the end for Baylor. Far from it.— Ben Kercheval (@BenKercheval) May 26, 2016It’s a good beginning though, and not one that many schools would have undertaken I don’t think. And as sad as I am for the entire thing, I’m also stunned that all of this is happening. There will be takes, and many of them will be of the scorching variety in the coming weeks months.The good thing for now, though, is that it seems Baylor really is trying to right some wrongs and protect the future of its students and its athletic program. We lose sight of that often. Today was a good reminder not to.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!