THE local kids rushed to greet the US patrol. “Hello, Mister,” they cried to the American soldiers, who started handing out chocolate bars and keyrings. At that moment a car sped from a side street and exploded right next to the crowd gathered around the Humvee.

More than 30 Baghdad youngsters, aged between six and 15, were killed yesterday in a suicide bombing that marked a new level of depravity even in a city used to daily carnage. But it will change nothing.

…..Abu Hamed, whose 12-year-old son, Mohammed, was among the victims, said: “I was at home. I heard the explosion. I rushed outside to find my son. I found only his bicycle.” He eventually found his son’s body at the morgue.

One woman, Hana Ali, failed to find her 11-year-old son at the hospital. When she returned to the blast scene, she found his head in the rubble.

“They killed all the children of the neighbourhood,” wept Radhi Hamud, but he was one of the “lucky” ones. His 13-year-old son, Husam, was among another 30 or so children who were merely maimed. Husam lost both his legs.