The soccer win seemed briefly to unite Iraqis of all religious and political
affiliations. In what’s described as the biggest street demonstrations since the
fall of Saddam Hussein, joyous fans celebrated across the country in an
outpouring of national pride. The team, known as the Lions of Mesopotamia,
defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 at the Asian games in Jakarta. For security
reasons, the team does not play in Iraq. Players earn their living abroad,
including the team captain and goal scorer, Younis Mahmoud, a Sunni Arab
who says he is too scared to come home.

Today’s bombing happened
just hours after authorities had lifted a ban on all vehicles in Baghdad and
other major cities. The ban had been imposed in an attempt to prevent
violence before and after the game. A minibus blew up around midday
outside a market and bus depot near Baghdad’s Tarayan square. The bus
was one of several waiting to take passengers to mostly Shia
neighborhoods.

APTN cameras captured the euphoria of the
players and cheering Iraqis Sunday, as well as the destruction that followed
Monday.