Vol. 5 Num 295 Sat. March 26, 2005  
Front Page

Suicide attacks on Iraqi security forces kill 15
Iraqi general, 5 cleaning ladies working on US base killed, 5 troops die in friendly fire

Two suicide car bomb attacks in Iraq killed at least 15 people and wounded 20 including two US soldiers, American and Iraqi officers said yesterday.

An Iraqi army general from Basra and his son were killed in a a drive-by shooting Friday in southeastern Baghdad, an interior ministry official said.

"General Salman Mohamed was driving his car with two sons and another relative when a car with gunmen on board opened fire on them in Baghdad Jadida at 3:30 pm (1230 GMT)," the official said on condition of anonymity.

One son died along with the general, who was assigned to the national guard in the southern port city of Basra, and another son was seriously wounded, he said. The fate of the other relative was unclear.

In the deadlier attack, a suicide bomber blew up his car at a checkpoint in Ramadi on Thursday evening, killing 12 Iraqi special police commandos and wounding nine police, two US soldiers and three civilians, the US military said yesterday.

The US 2nd Marine Division said the bomber blew himself up at a checkpoint in the east of the city, 68 miles west of Baghdad, at around 7 p.m.

Checkpoints were established at entrances to Ramadi last month to try to crack down on guerrillas who have mounted frequent attacks in the city.

"These terrorist attacks will not deter the soldiers and Marines from accomplishing their mission," said Brig. Gen. Joe McMenamin, assistant commander of the 2nd Marine Division.

"This was an attack on Iraqi security forces who have sworn an oath to protect the citizens of Iraq," he said.

In an attack on Friday in Iskandariya, in a lawless area just south of Baghdad, a bomber blew up his car beside an Iraqi army convoy, killing three soldiers and wounding six, soldiers at the scene said.

Earlier five Iraqi cleaning ladies working on a US base southeast of Baghdad were killed when their car came under gunfire, an interior ministry source said yesterday.

Gunmen travelling in a vehicle opened fire on the women in the Mashtal neighbourhood, east of the capital, on Thursday at 3:00 pm (1200 GMT), said the source, who asked not to be identified.

Family members of the women said they worked on a base in Rustumiyah.

The US military could not be immediately reached for comment.

Contractors, translators and other Iraqis suspected of working with US forces are the frequent target of insurgents.

In Baghdad, nine Iraqi soldiers were wounded when their patrol hit a roadside bomb on the capital's southern side at dawn Friday, said medical sources at Yarmuk hospital.

In further violence north of the capital, a mortar attack on an Iraqi army barracks in Suleiman Beg killed one soldier and wounded a man who had come to visit one of his soldier sons, said an army spokesman.

He added that four mortar rounds fell on the camp at about 7:00 am (0400 GMT) causing heavy damage.

Another mortar attack on a convoy near Tikrit, 180km north of Baghdad, destroyed a truck with Turkish license plates, said police sources in the area. The fate of the driver was unknown.

As the political drama played itself out, Iraqi troops battled insurgents in their former stronghold of Fallujah and five Iraqi policemen and soldiers died in a friendly-fire incident on Thursday.

Violence carried on Thursday as bullets flew in the former rebel stronghold of Fallujah, a Sunni town west of the Iraqi capital, a defence ministry official said, without giving a toll.

An AFP reporter said shots were heard from the city's northwestern Jolan district.

Elsewhere, a friendly-fire incident near the Syrian border between Iraqi police and army left five dead.

Iraqi police and army traded fire in Rabia, 130km northwest of Mosul, leaving three soldiers and two police dead, Major General Mohamed al-Jaburi told AFP.