Explosion in Doha; we are fine

Players_theaterWe are fine and still in one piece so far. We were home when the blast occurred around 9:00pm. We heard it loud and clear! The apartment shook a bit as a result of the blast but we dismissed it, jokingly saying it must be al-Qaeda.

Apparently it was a real blast. Since the target at the outset appears to have been a British school, I’m going to go ahead and say it looks like it must have been a terrorist attack! I don’t think I ever heard a bomb blast before. That was a first.

Recently, an audiotape was circulated on an Islamic website from al-Qaeda’s branch in Saudi Arabia threatening that there would be a bomb blast in Doha, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE. This one appears to have occurred about 500-700 meters from the Qatar TV/Jazeera complex. The facility is referenced on maps as the Doha Players Theater. [Image above from Aljazera.net Arabic]

Great. Living here just keeps getting worse. In addition to all the things that we deal with on a regular basis, now we have to live in fear. That’s just great. Thus far, there’s no deaths being reported. I’ll post updates as things become more clear.

Here’s the geographic location of the blast, on Al Wabra St. in Doha (map is ‘zoomable‘) and the latest from Aljazeera:

Loud blast in Qatari capital of Doha

An explosion occurred in a theater near a British school in the Qatari capital Doha and some people were wounded, Al Jazeera television and witnesses said. The cause of the blast in the theater, known as the "Doha Player," was not immediately known.

Dozens of people, including foreigners, were watching a play being staged at the theater, the television said. It said a blaze broke out in the building and the blast set some cars in the area on fire. It showed footage of firefighters trying to put out flames and said ambulances took some wounded to hospital.

An AFP correspondent some 500 meters (yards) from the scene of the blast saw plumes of smoke rising from the site and a large number of ambulances.

Police have sealed off the Farek Kelab district, a residential area 5km north of the city center, where the theater is located, witnesses have said. A Shakespeare play was being performed at the theater when the explosion went off.

The British Embassy’s duty officer Bassam Tahtamouni has said that at present the Embassy has no further details as to what caused the explosion or whether the British school has been affected by the explosion.

US Embassy spokeswoman Patricia Kabra said the blast was "not that far away from the embassy … There is no information yet about the cause of the explosion," she said.

Qatari officials were not immediately available to comment. The explosion took place at about 9:15 pm local time (1815 GMT).

Update #1: Recent reports indicate that one person has been killed and as many as 50 taken to Hamad Hospital for treatment. No final assessment has been made, however. The blast apparently occurred inside a restaurant in the theater itself. The district is some distance from the US Consulate but a little over 1km from the British Embassy. Some reports have even suggested the cause to be a gas explosion in the kitchen. Here’s the latest from the AP and some recent images here, here, here and here.

Update #2: As the light of day illuminates the site of the attack, it has become clear that this was not a kitchen-related gas explosion. This was a suicide car bomb attack that has left two dead: one Briton and the bomber. Reports of the injured vary but AP is going with the official estimate of 16, earlier reports suggested 50 brought to the local Hamad Hospital. The AP story continues to be the most complete. I’ll put up a new post pulling together the latest details shortly.

25 thoughts on “Explosion in Doha; we are fine”

  1. I was in a movie theatre when this happened.
    But people, don’t jump the gun, let’s wait for more details.
    We don’t know it was a bomb…apparently it originated in the restuarant of the theatre.
    And we most certainly don’t know it was a terrorist attack…
    Oh, the play was Twelfth Night, a drab Shakespearean comedy.

  2. Oh Natasha & Jeff, I really thank god that you guys are fine. I wonder when this shit would stop, it’s getting worse in the region, i don’t know how these ASSHOLES think! What the Fu** do they gain when they bomb a school! Damn it, i’m angry.

  3. You’re all being unreasonable.
    There is no evidence yet that this was an attack of any sort. Be patient.
    Two years ago in Brooklyn a restaurant partially-owned by Arabs was blown up. A lot of non-Arabs were hurt in the explosion. Within hours, Arabs were beaten by street gangs and a veiled girl had her veil set on fire.
    The NYPD and NYFD came back with a report: it was a gas leak. It is ALWAYS best to be prudent before passing judgment.

  4. First, hamdella 3al salameh.
    Second, I agree with metalordie (hey, we should start going out together dude).
    Natasha, do you rememebr the blast in kolliyet il zira3a? The joke was “il ikhwan 3imlooha” and it turned out to be a boiler in the basement of the building…I think that was a year or two before I attended UJ, I would say, 94-95…

  5. If the blast was centered in the theatre kitchen (which is in an adjacent building, not the theatre itself) it is unlikely to have been a car bomb. You could drive a car in through the gate, but that’s usually got one or two armed Qatari guards on it during performances, if I recall correctly.

  6. Just heard the news, glad you’re all ok. They were saying it was a suicide bombing on the BBC.

  7. I agree with those saying withhold judgement. When I lived in TA there were a few terror-related explosions, but you also have the occasional run of the mill explosions, gas leaks, mob hits, etc.
    Glad to hear you are OK.

  8. Just hopped on over from Little Green Footballs. I’m glad that you are okay and prayers for those who are hurt. I’m glad to have found your blog. 🙂

  9. wow. im glad to hear u are okay. just found out about this. I was at this protest in L.A. all day.
    Wow, i better keep this news away from my parents.

  10. A.M. Mora y Leon

    I was at the same one, Linda – what did you think of it? I thought it was 1500 people, max, with only ten banners. How did you find it?

  11. Just woke up. It is 6:30 am now and I’m reading the news. So it was a suicide car bomb after all. I will update the story in a bit. Have to get ready for work now. I will write more later duing the day.

  12. Very glad you both are ok. I was gone all day and just caught a glimpse of the explosion on CNN around 11 pm EST. Very sad….when will all this stupidity end!

  13. Oh my goodness. I am so glad that you two are OK. How scary that is. I know that there is no true safety in this life, but we tend to get comfortable. I have been relaxed, thinking that you were in a place without violence. I am so sorry and disturbed.

  14. A.M. Mora y LEon
    well i wont give my opinion about it because i was there reporting on it. but u are right about the numbers. LAPD said that was their count.

  15. Glad you’re OK, Natasha.
    Metalordie wrote: “Two years ago in Brooklyn a restaurant partially-owned by Arabs was blown up. A lot of non-Arabs were hurt in the explosion. Within hours, Arabs were beaten by street gangs and a veiled girl had her veil set on fire.”
    I don’t recall that incident, could you elaborate?

  16. Glad you’re weren’t directly affected, Natasha. Apparently, there was at least one fatality.
    About you ‘living if fear’; join the club. Sadly, the membership numbers in the ‘living in fear’ group might not be as large as they are if your media outlet over there had not played such a role as ‘friendly publicist’ for those who use car and suicide bombs in civilian areas.
    Bin Laden asked for attacks on interests outside of Iraq (probably since Iraq seems- after the election- to be somewhat of a lost cause to him). Most people assumed that meant the U.S. directly. I, for one, suspected it would initially mean the surrounding Arabic countries where support organizations already thrive. Sorry it’s coming to pass that way.

  17. I am so very thankful that you were unharmed, though I cannot imagine how you are feeling now. Very scared and on edge I’m sure. We’ll be praying for you and your country.

  18. Almost 2 years later, I finally find the courage to stop trying to forget about that fateful night. I was at the Doha Players theatre, attending the play for an English literature assignment. For all of you outraged by the event, and wondering “when the stupidity is going to end”? I’d like you to try and picture yourself sitting 9 seats away from that bomb, having flames from the 2 exists at the back of the theatre as your only guide out of the building, which happened to be built completely out of wood and rapidly falling apart. Children screaming, people rushing to the exists near the stage, stepping over broken seats and wood from the ceiling and walls. stepping out of the theatre, you’re surrounded by the almost meter high wall around the theatre, a woman is having a nervous breakdown right next to you, literally pulling her hair out. Someone behind you shouts: “SHOOTING, SHOOTING!!!” everybody ducks to the ground. The wall is too high for you to climb over so you look for another way out, but instead of moving, you panic, get into the fetal position in a corner. I’d like you to all try and imagine yourself there, when nothing else matters, in the middle of what I can only describe as a near- death experience, when all you can think about is how much you are going to miss your loved ones, how many things you left undone, your life literally passes in front of your eyes, and believe me when I tell you that the last thing on your mind would by why or who would do something like that. None of that matters when you can taste death in the air, none of it…

Comments are closed.