By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
April 12, 2007 – President Bush today condemned a suicide attack on the Iraqi parliament building in Baghdad's heavily fortified International Zone. The attack, which occurred today in the building's cafeteria as it was crowded for lunch, killed at least eight people, Iraqi officials reported.
President Bush, speaking at the White House during a ceremony for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, strongly condemned the attack. "It reminds us ... that there is an enemy willing to bomb innocent people in a symbol of democracy," Bush said.
"It is in our interest to help this young democracy be in a position so it can sustain itself and govern itself and defend itself against these extremists and radicals," Bush said. "Our hearts go out to those who suffered as a result of this bombing.
"My message to the Iraqi government is: 'We stand with you as you take the steps necessary to not only reconcile politically, but also put a security force in place that is able to deal with these kinds of people,'" Bush said.
The attack killed at least one member of Iraq's parliament, Iraqi officials in Baghdad said. The Council of Representatives has vowed to meet tomorrow despite the attack, the official said.
"Today's attack on the Iraqi Council of Representatives was an attack on democracy by individuals who oppose the concept of government that is representative of and responsible to the people of Iraq," Army Gen. David Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, said in a written statement.
"The soldiers of the Multinational Force Iraq extend condolences to the families of the Iraqis who were martyred in this attack and salute the Council of Representatives for their commitment to convene again tomorrow to demonstrate that democracy in Iraq will not be deterred by the barbaric acts of terrorists," Petraeus said.
A Multinational Force Iraq statement said the attack was aimed to cripple the government body "that speaks for all Iraqis." The attack was intended to "frustrate Iraq's efforts to build a secure, stable, and prosperous future," According to the statement.
The council is working on legislation that will share oil revenue fairly among all Iraqis, on so-called de-Baathification legislation, to reconcile ethnic and religious groups in the country following 30 years of brutal misrule under Saddam Hussein.
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