Monday, October 24, 2005

Palestine and Sheraton Hotel Attacks: AP Uses "T" Word When THEIR People Are Attacked

Two Versions of the Same Event

The Associated Press version [emphasis added]:
AGHDAD, Iraq - Three massive vehicle bombs exploded Monday near the Palestine Hotel, home to many Western journalists, killing at least 20 people. Dramatic TV pictures showed one of the bombers driving a cement truck through the concrete blast walls that guard the hotel, then blowing up his vehicle.

Iraq's national security adviser, Mouwafak al-Rubaie, said the attack — which appeared well-planned — was a "very clear" effort to take over the hotel and seize journalists as hostages.

One of the car bombs exploded near the police position on the northeast side of Firdous Square, where a statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in April 2003 shortly after the fall of Baghdad, and more than 100 yards east of the hotel. Security officials said a third bomb struck the area around the same time. All three were believed to be suicide attacks.

"Three cars came from three different roads in succession to create security breaches for terrorists," al-Rubaie told The Associated Press in a telephone interview, adding that they were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and light arms.

"The plan was very clear to us, which was to take security control over the two hotels, and to take the foreign and Arab journalists as hostages to use them as a bargain."
Note that the AP's embargo on using or quoting the "T" word (terrorist) has been lifted now that their people have been directly attacked. I have very grave doubts about the accuracy of reports from the Associated Press (see this and this).

What actually happened, from a CENTCOM press release:
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Three car bombs detonated near the Palestine and Sheraton hotels in central Baghdad early Oct. 24.

The first car bomb caused a breach in an outer barrier wall of the Palestine and Sheraton hotels at Firdos Square traffic circle.

About five minutes later a second car bomb approached the square and tried to maneuver through the breach but was engaged by civilian security forces and detonated near the 14th Ramadan Mosque.

Thirty seconds later, a Task Force Baghdad Soldier engaged a cement truck that was moving through the breached wall. The truck exploded near a coalition vehicle causing moderate damage.
This dry, non-dramatized account stands in contrast to the words of the AP folks. And AP shows their gratitude to the military people who probably prevented some of them from being kidnapped by, quite gratuitously, lumping them in with the terrorists later in the AP story:
The hotel has been attacked several times since the war started in March 2003. On April 8, 2003 — the day before Saddam's regime fell — U.S. tank fire killed two TV cameramen — a Spaniard and a Ukrainian — at the hotel.