The school bus stopped to pick up a girl. Then the bomb exploded. Here’s the Guardian story on the terror attacks in Basra:
At 7.13 am the schoolgirls inside, aged 14 and 15 and dressed in black uniforms with white headscarves, had been on their way to Al Amjad intermediate school for girls when a Chevrolet saloon drove past.
The car would have attracted little attention as it approached the station’s front gate. Seconds later it blew up, flinging a fireball of metal and other debris across the street.
The girls, who had been waiting for a classmate to clamber aboard, stood little chance. Their minibus and another taking younger children to kindergarten was incinerated.
“I saw a minibus full of children on fire,” said Amin Dinar, whose house was next to the scene. “Fifteen of the 18 passengers were killed and three badly wounded. I looked around and saw my leg bleeding and my neighbour lying dead on the floor torn apart.”
Only one girl, Ala’ Muhamad, 15, who was about to board the bus, escaped the fireball. “I had just left the house,” she said. “I opened the door and went out. I could see the bus. I found myself flying in the air and falling on the ground. I saw fire and smoke. It was a huge explosion. I couldn’t get up again.”
Shivering, shaking and weeping, she said: “I can’t believe all my friends have been killed. I’m the only one left.”
The suicide bomber must have seen the school buses and chosen to kill those children.