Michael Ware


LDT: More on the bombing

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Length: 2:40

LOU DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

We begin tonight in Iraq, where terrorists today struck a serious blow against American efforts to defeat the insurgency. A suicide bomber killed seven powerful tribal leaders who were meeting at a Baghdad hotel. Among the sheikhs, five Sunnis from Anbar province who had joined the fight against al Qaeda.

That attack raising serious questions about the ability of American troops to protect tribal leaders trying to ally themselves with the United States.

Michael Ware has our report from Baghdad -- Michael.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the war in Iraq drones on, exacting its toll in human life. Three car and truck bombings in the country today, which claimed 46 lives. However, of those, the one that has unleashed the greatest political shock waves in the country is a bombing at the Mansour Hotel in the center of the capital, shortly before midday.

The hotel, just a few hundred yards from the international zone and the U.S. embassy. A largely western-style hotel, the explosion ripped through its front lobby shortly before lunch.

Twelve were killed in the attack and 21 wounded. Of those who were killed, at least seven were tribal sheikhs in a meeting under the government's reconciliation plan, believed to have been a show of support for the ailing Maliki government.

Right now all attention is focused on al Qaeda for responsibility for this attack, although the organization is yet to make any claim.

However, alternative theories to the attack have already begun to surface in Baghdad, with some speculating that this may have been the work of a rogue government faction, striking against political opponents who resided in that hotel.

Either way, many questions still surround this attack. Yet, late this evening, Baghdad time, the U.S. embassy played its hand, releasing a statement that clearly identified the attack as the work of a suicide bomber and categorically attributing it to al Qaeda.

Now, in terms of the reconciliation process and al Qaeda's upswing in attacks on anyone involved in this program to bring this country back together, the question is what can America do to protect participants like the seven sheikhs killed today? And the simple answer is, nothing at all -- Lou.