Thursday, June 02, 2005
Short News Update June 2, 2005
BAGHDAD - Three suicide car bombings struck within an hour and two parked motorcycles exploded in northern Iraq on Thursday, while gunmen in speeding cars opened fire on a crowded market in Baghdad in a series of attacks that killed at least 34 people.
Continuing violence during the past days also has claimed the lives of three children, a U.S. soldier and a Sunni Muslim cleric, underscoring the rampant, random nature of an insurgency that has killed almost 800 people since the April 28 announcement of Iraq's new Shiite-led government, according to an Associated Press count.
Twenty people were killed as a wide swath of northern Iraq was hit by three suicide bombings within an hour.
A suicide bomber struck a restaurant in Tuz Khormato, 50 miles south of the northern city of Kirkuk, during breakfast hours Thursday, killing at least 12 people, including a bodyguard of a deputy prime minister, and wounding 40, according to the Iraqi Defense Ministry and police.
The blast set ablaze eight cars in the restaurant's parking lot, the focal point of a bloody, rubble-strewn scene that U.S. and Iraqi police quickly cordoned off. Shards of glass, shoes and splattered breakfast meals covered the restaurant's floor as emergency workers raced around overturned tables and wooden chairs in a bid to treat the casualties.
Earlier in Kirkuk, a suicide car bomber targeting a convoy of Toyota Land Cruisers carrying civilian contractors killed four Iraqi bystanders and wounded at least 11 others, said Dr. Bassam Mohammed of Kirkuk Emergency Hospital. None of the occupants in the convoy was injured, although one vehicle was damaged, the U.S. military said.
Another suicide bomber killed four people and wounded four in Baqouba, about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, police Col. Mudhafar Mohammed said. The victims included Hussein Alwan al-Tamimi, 41, deputy head of Iraq's northeastern Diyala provincial council since January, and three of his bodyguards.
Hours later, two parked motorcycles rigged with explosives detonated near a coffee shop frequented by policemen, killing five Iraqis, wounding 13 and destroying several shops in Mosul, police and hospital officials said.
Gunmen firing randomly from three speeding cars also killed nine Iraqis in a crowded market area in Baghdad, a Defense Ministry official said.
The attack occurred in the ethnically mixed northwestern neighborhood of Hurriyah. "There were no security targets there, they were all civilians," the ministry's Radhi Badir said. Earlier this year, gunmen killed the governor of the Baghdad province and six of his bodyguards in a drive-by shooting in the neighborhood.
The massive explosion in Tuz Khormato tore apart the town's Baghdad Restaurant, where bodyguards of Iraq's Kurdish deputy prime minister, Rowsch Nouri Shaways, were eating, police Brig. Sarhad Qadre said.
"I was sitting inside my restaurant when about six cars parked nearby and their passengers came inside and ordered food," said restaurant owner Ahmed al-Dawoudi. "Seconds later, I heard a big explosion and the restaurant was turned into twisted wreckage and rubble. Blood and pieces of flesh were everywhere."
Shaways was not at the restaurant at the time of the blast. Kurds, who want oil-rich Kirkuk to be part of their autonomous Kurdistan region, have been regularly targeted by insurgents.
The military also announced that a U.S. soldier assigned to the Marines was killed when a roadside bomb struck the vehicle he was traveling in Wednesday near the volatile western Iraqi city of Ramadi.
Another American soldier, attached to Task Force Liberty, died of non-battle-related wounds Wednesday in the northern city of Kirkuk, the military said. The incident is under investigation.
At least 1,665 U.S. military members have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
An Iraqi civilian also was killed and another wounded in a suicide bombing Wednesday near the village of Mishada, 20 miles north of the capital, the U.S. military said. Another suicide bomber tried to attack a U.S. convoy nearby but failed.
A Sunni cleric, Imad al-Hayali, was "mistakenly" killed by an Iraqi soldier at a checkpoint in Latifiyah, south of Baghdad, police Lt. Adnan Abdullah said Thursday. Al-Hayali was shot Tuesday by soldiers who thought he was driving dangerously toward the checkpoint, Abdullah said.
A southern Baghdad mortar barrage late Wednesday killed 12-year-old Sabaa Haitham, her brother Sajjad, 10, their 8-year-old cousin Mina Mohammed Abid their uncle, Lu'ay Salih, in his mid-20s, hospital officials said.
In a bid to curb Iraq's insurgency, Shiite leaders have started reaching out to Sunni Muslim insurgent groups believed responsible for multiple attacks.
Senior Shiite cleric Hummam Hammoudi, chairman of a committee named by the National Assembly to draw up Iraq's constitution, said the Shiite-led government has opened indirect communications with factions in the Sunni Arab-dominated insurgency and is trying to persuade them to lay down their arms.
"Some informal and limited contacts have been established with parties that we label as 'resistance,' so they can contribute to the drafting of the constitution," said Hammoudi, a senior member of Iraq's largest Shiite political party.
Experts have long maintained it will be difficult to defeat the insurgency with military means alone. They stress the need for Sunni Arab participation in the political system, adequate reconstruction funds and job creation as key to weakening support for the rebels.
But the contacts did not include radical Islamic groups such as terrorist chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaida in Iraq, which has been blamed for some of the worst bombings, kidnappings and other attacks.
Many thanks to anonymous on the Wednesday thread. I recommended in the comments section that this link should be followed. As poster "me" says:
"It's hard to watch.
It's impossible to imagine an innocent civilian population made up mostly of women and children had done anything to anger and trigger such fierce barbarism, from you, the american people.
I hope that, at least, you'll have the courage to watch it and see what your leaders are doing in your name, with your money."