BAGHDAD — If there were such a thing, it would probably be rule No. 1 in the teaching manual for instructors of aspiring suicide bombers: Don't give lessons with live explosives.
In what represented a cautionary tale for terrorist teachers, and a cause of dark humor for ordinary Iraqis, a commander at a secluded terrorist training camp north of Baghdad unwittingly used a belt packed with explosives while conducting a demonstration Monday for a group of militants. He killed himself and 21 other members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, army and police officials said.
Iraqi citizens have long been accustomed to daily attacks on public markets, mosques, funerals and even children's soccer games, so for them the story of the fumbling militants was seen as a dark kind of poetic justice. On Monday evening, Raad Hashim, working the counter at a liquor store near the site of the attack, burst out laughing when he heard the news. "This is so funny," Hashim said. "It shows how stupid they are, those dogs and sons of dogs." More seriously, he said, "it also gives me pain, as I remember all the innocent people that were killed here."
In addition to the 22 militants who were killed, 15 others were wounded at the incident at the militant compound, according to police and army officials. Stores of other explosives, including at least 10 vehicles packed with explosives, were found, the officials said.