Bloody day in Baghdad, dozens killed in car bombs

07:03:16 AM
28 2003

Bloody day in Baghdad, dozens killed in car bombs

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BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A U.S. Army general says recent deadly bombings against coalition and Iraqi police forces in the Iraqi capital are the first that can be tied with certainty to so-called foreign fighters.

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling said Monday's attacks don't fit with those attributed to loyalists of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime. He said "intelligence" and the "mode of operations" indicated the work of foreign fighters but denied to elaborate on the intelligence.

"We have not seen any attacks that we could directly attribute to foreign fighters (in the past)," Hertling said. "We have seen those today."

Four suicide car bombings rocked Baghdad Monday, killing an estimated 30 people, including two American soldiers, and wounding more than 200 others, U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi hospital officials said.

The bombings targeted the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in central Baghdad and three Iraqi police stations.

U.S. and coalition officials have attributed nearly all attacks against them to former Saddam loyalists, not foreign fighters such as al Qaeda members or militants from surrounding nations.

Yet Samir Sumaidy of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council said foreign fighters, whom he described as "terrorists," were flocking to Iraq.

"Iraq is now a target ... is a rallying place for members of al Qaeda worldwide," he said.

Dozens killed, injured

At least 12 people were killed and more than 20 wounded in the attack at ICRC headquarters, authorities and hospital officials said. Baghdad Police Chief Maj. Bassem Alani said that at least 16 people died and 94 were wounded in attacks on the three police stations.

The Combined Joint Task Force in Baghdad said that a 1st Armored Division soldier was killed and six were wounded Monday at the Al Bayaa police station, but it was unclear where the other American death and injuries took place. The coalition said 19 American soldiers were wounded Monday.

Hertling said the casualty numbers remained fluid while officials compiled information from medical and security officials.

Red Cross spokeswoman Nada Doumani was shocked.

"Maybe it was an illusion to think people would understand after 23 years that we are unbiased," Doumani said. "I can't understand why we've been targeted."

The Red Cross has been providing humanitarian assistance in Iraq since 1980. Red Cross officials vowed to continue their work in Iraq despite the attack. (Full story)

Plan for fifth attack alleged

Iraqi police said they thwarted an attack on a fourth police station, and in the process wounded and captured a man with a Syrian passport.

A bomb in the man's car apparently failed to explode, and a U.S. ordnance-disposal team was called to al Jaleeda to defuse the bomb. Inside the vehicle, team members found five boxes of TNT and four rocket-propelled grenades set for launch, according to Iraqi police Capt. Sami Hussein.

Hertling had high praise for the work of the Iraqi security forces.

"There were very many deaths today," he said. "A great many were Iraqi policemen. In almost all these bombings today, they prevented innocent civilians from being killed."

In Washington, President Bush and L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, condemned the bombings and said the coalition will not be intimidated.

"There are terrorists in Iraq who are willing to kill anybody in order to stop our progress," Bush said. "The more success we have on the ground, the more these killers will react -- and our job is to find them and bring them to justice."


Source by CNN

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