Vol. 5 Num 351 Wed. May 25, 2005  
Front Page

Car bombs kill 8 GIs, 6 Iraqis in Baghdad

A car bomb exploded yesterday near a Baghdad junior high school for girls, killing six people, and seven American soldiers were killed in two days of bombings in and around Baghdad, a day after 62 Iraqis died in a string of insurgent attacks.

The US deaths raised the total to 13 Americans killed since Sunday. Those reports came as insurgents carried out a string of explosions, suicide attacks and drive-by shootings around the country that killed 49 Iraqis.

Three US soldiers died yesterday when a bomb exploded as their convoy drove by and a fourth was killed 30 minutes later in a separate incident when gunmen shot him from a passing car, an army spokesman said.

The other four were killed Monday after they were attacked in Haswa, 48km south of Baghdad, the military said. The soldiers were assigned to the 155th Brigade Combat Team, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

The seven soldiers' identities were not released.

The US military said Monday that three American soldiers were killed Sunday and one wounded in two separate attacks in Mosul, 360km northwest of Baghdad. Another soldier was reported killed when his patrol was hit by a car bomb just north of Tikrit, 128km north of the capital, and a fifth died in a vehicle accident in Kirkuk.

Separately, a homemade bomb destroyed a Bradley fighting vehicle late Monday in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, wounding three US soldiers. Two of them returned to duty while the third remained in a military clinic, said Sgt. Jeffrey Pool. None of the soldiers was seriously hurt.

Militants also gunned down two people and seized control of Tal Afar, a town 80km west of the northern city of Mosul, police said yesterday, hours after two car bombs killed at least 20 people there late Monday.

Separately, gunmen opened fire on a four-car convoy carrying conservative Shia legislator Salamah al-Khafaji, one of the most prominent women in Iraq's new parliament. The lawmaker escaped unharmed, but four of her bodyguards were critically injured.

The US military announced that a two-day operation involving more than 2,000 Iraqi soldiers and police the largest-ever joint campaign in the Baghdad area had rounded up 428 suspected insurgents.

But insurgents continued to wreak havoc in the capital despite the ongoing crackdown in the Abu Ghraib area, which targets militants believed responsible for multiple attacks on the US-detention facility there and the road linking downtown to the international airport.

Residents called police about a suspicious-looking car parked opposite the Dijlah Junior High School for Girls in Alwiyah, near eastern Baghdad's well-known Withaq Square, a Christian neighbourhood. As bomb disposal experts approached the vehicle, it exploded and killed six bystanders, said police Capt. Husham Ismael.

Three civilians and one policeman also were injured; none of the school's students were believed to be among the casualties.

At least 620 people, including 52 US troops, have been killed since April 28, when Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced his new Shia-dominated government. Washington hopes his government will eventually train police and an army capable of securing Iraq, allowing the withdrawal of coalition troops.

Many of Monday's attacks appeared to target the majority Shia community whose representatives won a majority in January's landmark general elections and who now lead the coalition government.

The bloodiest attack came late Monday when two suicide drivers ploughed into a crowd in the northern town of Tall Afar, killing at least 35 people.

The double attack took place "a few minutes after mortar bombs were fired at two houses in the Muallimin district of Tall Afar," according to Abdel Ghani ali Yahia, an official with the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of two political factions which control the northern Kurdish provinces.

"Local people gathered at the site to help... and two car bombs then rushed in and exploded," he added.

At least 25 people were also wounded in the attack in Muallimin, a majority Shia and Turkmen area of Tall Afar, a town 400km north of the capital.

Another 11 people were killed and 11 wounded, many of them children, when a car bomb exploded outside a Shia prayer room in Mahmudiyah, a lawless ethnically-mixed town in an area just south of Baghdad dubbed the Triangle of Death.