Newlywed bliss turns to tragedy after gunmen target young Iraqi groom and bride |

Newlywed bliss turns to tragedy after gunmen target young Iraqi groom and bride

BAGHDAD, Iraq – It should have been a joyous homecoming for the newlyweds. Iraqi army captain Wissam Abdul-Wahab and his bride had spent their wedding night at a fancy hotel.But their first day as husband and wife became their last. Gunmen sprayed their car with bullets as they drove home Friday, killing the bride and wounding the groom.”My poor Sally, she was very happy yesterday,” sobbed her mother-in-law, Latifah Mohammed, too distraught to tell her son his 23-year-old bride was dead.Lying in a hospital bed as doctors removed fragments of bone and shrapnel from his right hand, a bloodied and bandaged Abdul-Wahab begged his family to tell him what had happened to his wife.”What happened to us? How is Sally? She is dead, right? Tell me the truth please. I have the feeling she is dead,” he sobbed.Abdul-Wahab’s brother Ahmed, 28, who was also wounded in the drive-by shooting, reassured him gently: “She is fine. She is fine, believe me,” he said as his eyes filled with tears.In a country where violence claims dozens of people every day, it was one more story of heartbreak – a reminder of how ordinary lives have been shattered by the constant drumbeat of violence and death.More than 1,700 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in a surge of violence since the new Shiite and Kurdish-dominated government was announced April 28.Grimacing in pain in Yarmouk Hospital’s emergency ward, Abdul-Wahab told The Associated Press that he and his bride were married Thursday at his parents’ home in the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Dora.”My brother came this morning with a taxi driver to pick us up from Babylon Hotel,” he said. “As we arrived at our home, a car with gunmen inside sprayed us with machine-guns. Suddenly I lost sight of everything and then found myself here.”Abdul-Wahab said he didn’t know why he was attacked.”No one threatened me before. I have no enemies…Who did this to me?”Afterwards, his brother said he believed assailants came after them because he was a police lieutenant in Fallujah and his brother was a captain in the Iraqi army.”We don’t have any enemies to be attacked like this, but I’m sure that they targeted us just because my brother is an army officer and I’m a police officer… But I’m sure God will get revenge for us from those criminals who target Iraqi security forces,” Ahmed Abdul-Wahab said.It wasn’t supposed to end this way, he said. His brother had waited for years to marry his sweetheart. Stocky and serious, the 25-year-old from Fallujah was a captain in training at Iraq’s military school in Diyala.”Wissam was in love with Sally for three years and when he saved up good money, he told us that he was dreaming of making Sally his wife,” Ahmed Abdul-Wahab said.The couple got engaged a year ago and planned a modest wedding because one of the groom’s brothers was killed last fall during a U.S. military offensive against Fallujah.Holding back tears as she stood over his bed, his mother could not bear to tell her son the truth.”She is fine, my dear. I just saw her…and she just had medicine. She sleeps now at the hospital,” she said.Standing in the hospital corridors later, she burst into tears as she recounted waiting for the young couple to return home on Friday morning.”I heard heavy shooting and realized that these shootings were not for happiness like we do to celebrate because the bullets hit the house and shattered the glass on me,” the mother said.Running out of the house, she saw her two sons, daughter-in-law and the taxi driver covered in blood.”It was horrible…I can’t forget this sight…I can’t forget Sally’s beautiful face as the bullet hit her,” she said.Softly Mohammed described a joyful wedding ceremony just a day earlier.”She was very happy yesterday and she was laughing all the time and making jokes with all of us, as if someone told her that she is living her last hours,” she said.”She was saying ‘I’m beautiful…I’m beautiful today.’ Oh God I can’t forget all that.”

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