BAGHDAD—Terrorist cells in Baghdad are in mourning for suicide bomber Ahmed al-Khalaf, 19, who was killed by a car bomb Monday, 200 yards from an Iraqi police station, his intended target.
Sources within the insurgency said al-Khalaf was "on his way to becoming a glorious martyr" when he was struck down by the car-bomb explosion. Twenty-three other civilians were also killed.
"What kind of God allows the death of people who are on their way to kill innocent people?" insurgent leader Abdulwahid al-Tomizie said. "On the one hand, I am elated that the car-bomb explosion was successful, but the loss of the suicide bomber is a tragedy, as is the survival of all the innocent people he might have killed."
According to al-Tomizie, al-Khalaf could have killed as many as 40 innocent people, had his life not been cut short.
"It is tragic that al-Khalaf died seven minutes sooner than he intended," said Hassan Abdul Aziz, leader of a local cabal of Sunni separatists. "To think that he was just yards from his intended target. Our thoughts and prayers are with his terrorist cell."
No insurgent groups have claimed responsibility for the car bomb, although as many as 18 separate insurgency factions have vowed to carry on the fight in al-Khalaf's memory.
In the past week, over 170 Iraqi citizens and U.S. troops have died in terrorist or insurgent attacks, but al-Khalaf's death marks the first time a terrorist has been killed by another terrorist while on a different terrorist mission.
Terrorist leaders have called the incident a "wake-up call."
"No one likes to see a senseless waste of a willingness to take human life," said al-Qaeda operative Salih al-Shimiri, in a videotaped message aired on Al-Jazeera Monday evening. "However, there are worse problems than having too many suicide bombers on our streets."
Insurgent leaders met Monday to draft new rules to prevent bombing mix-ups like the one that killed al-Khalaf. One proposal would limit suicide bombings to odd hours, car bombings to even. Another designates "Car Bomb Only" traffic lanes to help terrorists get to their bombing locations more quickly and efficiently.
"I had a man last week get stuck in traffic while driving a car bomb to the Mendi Temple," al-Shimiri said. "When he arrived, he found it already on fire. We don't fill the cars up with enough gas to make two-way trips, so he was forced to blow up a nearby disco. This is madness."
Al-Shimiri added: "We all have the same goal here—the killing of innocent civilians. Let's stop working at cross purposes."
Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr believes all insurgents must find direction in their extreme fundamentalist faith. "When I close my eyes, all I can see are the faces of all the innocents al-Khalaf will never get a chance to kill. It is a sad day, but we must not let it shake our faith in the wrath of Allah."