In today’s London Times we read the following:
The acting director of a Baghdad psychiatric hospital has been arrested on suspicion of supplying al-Qaeda in Iraq with the mentally impaired women that it used to blow up two crowded animal markets in the city on February 1, killing about 100 people.
Iraqi security forces and US soldiers arrested the man at al-Rashad hospital in east Baghdad on Sunday. They then spent three hours searching his office and removing records. Sources told The Times that the two women bombers had been treated at the hospital in the past.
“They [the security forces] arrested the acting director, accusing him of working with al-Qaeda and recruiting mentally ill women and using them in suicide bombing operations,” a hospital official said.
Ibrahim Muhammad Agel, director of the hospital, was killed in the Mansour district of Baghdad on December 11 by gunmen on motorbikes. Colleagues suspect that he was shot for refusing to cooperate with al-Qaeda. Even before Sunday’s arrest, US officials believed that al-Qaeda was scouring Iraq’s hospitals for mentally impaired patients whom it could dupe into acting as suicide bombers. They said that al-Qaeda had used the mentally impaired as unwitting bombers before. “We have fairly good reason to believe this is not the first time they have recruited mentally handicapped individuals,” said one senior officer, though he did not think there had been more than half a dozen cases.
That the responsible parties can imagine such acts to be morally justified, as I am sure they do, and can believe themselves to be righteous servants of God, should give us plenty to think about.