The day began like any other at Dijla Primary School in Baghdad's posh Mansour district. Rows of students in neat gray and white uniforms gathered in the courtyard to raise the Iraqi flag and sing the national anthem. They read passages from religious texts, then cheerfully went to their classrooms. Headmistress Wajida Sharhan was working in her office when a mortar shell slammed into a second-floor fifth grade classroom.
The torrent of violence that has swept Baghdad and surrounding provinces since U.S. forces invaded three years ago, and surged since last month's attack on a Shiite shrine, has left little unscathed — even schools. What were once sanctuaries of learning have become places of fear...
...Bombs, rockets, mortar and machine-gun fire killed 64 school children in the four months ending Feb. 28 alone, according to a report by the Education Ministry. At least 169 teachers and 84 other employees died in the same period.