Iraq: Caritas workers injured in Nasirya suicide bombing

 CAFOD's Iraqi partner, Caritas Iraq has suspended operations in Nasiriya following injuries to its aid workers in the suicide bomb attack on the Italian police headquarters yesterday. The director of the Nasiriya Well Baby Centre, Dr Hassan was seriously injured in the blast and remains in hospital. The centre which works with sick and malnourished children is run as a joint operation between the Iraqi Red Crescent Society and Caritas Iraq and was devastated by the bombing. The force of the blast blew out windows in the Caritas Iraq centre and 12 staff were taken to hospital with glass injuries. Seven of the injured were released last night with the other five still receiving emergency attention. The office is staffed by Iraqi Nationals. Caritas Iraq director Faiq Bourachi spoke today of his shock at hearing news of the blast. "This attack happened in a quiet residential area and it has caused utter devastation. Our thoughts are with the families of all those who lost their lives in the attack as well as those who have been seriously injured, including Dr Hassan. We are praying for the souls of he dead Italian soldiers and to those Iraqi civilians killed or injured." Caritas Iraq has sent two staff members with a truckload of emergency medicines and medical supplies from its warehouse in Baghdad to the hospital in Nasiriya to help in the emergency work. The project coordinator from the Basra office has also been sent to assess the damage on the ground. Caritas Iraq and the Iraqi Red Crescent Society jointly run 22 Well Baby centres across Iraq and all the other centres remain open and fully operational. Security procedures will be immediately reviewed following the blast and it is expected that the Nasiriya centre will be moved to a new location outside the town as soon as possible. A police cordon raised around the bombed areas has prevented staff from returning to the centre apart from to check on the scale of the damage. The work of Caritas Iraq also includes the rehabilitation of clinics and has already reconstructed six clinics and is currently building another in Baghdad.

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