WASHINGTON Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday the use of mentally disabled women as suicide bombers in Baghdad proves al-Qaida is "the most brutal and bankrupt of movements" and will strengthen Iraqi resolve to reject terrorism.
"It certainly underscores and affirms the decision of the Iraqi people that there is no political program here that is acceptable to a civilized society and that this is the most brutal and the most bankrupt of movements that would do this kind of thing," she said.
"It says to me that the Iraqi people have been right to turn against these terrible violent people in their midst who will do anything and I hope that it affirms for them how right they were to turn against the foreign fighters of al-Qaida, whether it is in Anbar or the local citizens committees that are taking back their streets," Rice said
"The struggle is not over and there will be from time to time terrible days like today but I think that will underscore that for the Iraqis and it will make them tougher in the fight," she told reporters at a joint news conference at the State Department with visiting Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski.
Earlier Friday, remote-controlled explosives strapped to two mentally disabled women detonated in a coordinated attack on Baghdad pet bazaars, killing at least 73 people in the deadliest day since the U.S. sent 30,000 extra troops to the capital last spring.
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker told The Associated Press in an interview that the bombings showed that a resilient al-Qaida has "found a different, deadly way" to try to destabilize Iraq.
"There is nothing they won't do if they think it will work in creating carnage and the political fallout that comes from that," he said.