- The Washington Times - Friday, May 6, 2005

BAGHDAD — Terrorists used suicide car bombs to attack a market and a police bus yesterday, killing 25 persons, and at least a dozen bodies were found buried in a garbage dump on Baghdad’s outskirts, with some victims blindfolded and shot in the head, Iraqi officials said.

The separate car bombings were part of a surge of violence that has killed at least 270 persons — many of them Iraqi soldiers and police — since Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced his new government April 28 with seven Cabinet positions still undecided.

One suicide bomber struck a market in Suwayrah, 25 miles south of Baghdad, killing 17 persons and wounding 47 — all civilians, police and hospital officials said.

The town is located in a notorious insurgent area known as the Triangle of Death, police said.

In Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, a car packed with explosives — and with a taxi sign on its roof — destroyed a police minibus, killing at least eight policemen, police said.

Elsewhere, two insurgents shot at American soldiers on patrol in south Baghdad early yesterday, and one militant was killed by return fire, the U.S. military said. Another insurgent was detained.

Scavengers sifting through garbage for items to sell came across the bodies at the dump in Kasra Waatash, on the northeastern edge of Baghdad, police and witnesses said.

There were conflicting accounts of how many bodies were found. Bassim al-Maslokhi, a soldier who was guarding the area during the recovery, counted 14; Kadhim al-Itabi, a local police chief, put the number at 12.

The victims, believed to be Iraqis, were found in shallow graves and seemed to have been killed recently, the soldier said. Some were blindfolded and had been shot in the head.

Baghdad’s central morgue reported receiving 12 bodies. Families identified some of the victims as farmers who disappeared recently on their way to a market to sell their produce, a morgue official said.

The Iraqi government said the Feb. 20 capture of a driver for terrorist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi and the seizure of Zarqawi’s computer have yielded information on senior officials in the terror network and funding received from abroad.

The government said the information ?will contribute to weakening? of Zarqawi’s group, called al Qaeda in Iraq.

The government also said it was closing in on the head of Zarqawi’s operations in the northern city of Mosul. The insurgent, known as Abu Talha, who ?used to finance his terrorist operations through kidnappings, stealing and killing innocent civilians, is not able to move freely anymore because of security forces pressure,? the statement said.

Militants holding an Australian engineer hostage issued a 72-hour ultimatum for Australia to start pulling its 300 troops out of Iraq, the Arab television Al Jazeera reported.

Australian Douglas Wood, 63, a California resident with a serious heart condition, is married to an American.

Al Jazeera also reported that militants released a video purporting to show six Jordanian hostages and warning Jordanian companies not to deal with the U.S. military.

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