25 killed in attacks targeting Iraqi police

BAGHDAD (AP) — A slew of bombings targeted Iraqi police in Baghdad on Wednesday morning, including blasts by two suicide bombers who tried to ram their vehicles through police station gates. Iraqi officials said 25 people died and dozens more were wounded in the carnage.

The blasts were aimed at the police, generally considered to be the weakest section of the country’s security forces, and emphasized that despite Iraq‘s security gains, long-term stability in the country is still elusive.

U.S. forces are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of this year, and Wednesday’s multipronged attack is likely to add to concerns about whether the Iraqi security forces are able to secure the city effectively.

In the southern Karradah neighborhood, 13 people died and 25 were wounded in a suicide car bomb attack on a police station, Baghdad police officials said. Smoke could be seen rising from the blast site as ambulances rushed to the scene, their sirens wailing. Iraqi army helicopters circled overhead.

In the mainly Shiite neighborhood of Hurriyah, a suicide car bomber targeted a police station and killed nine people, two Baghdad police officials said. Twenty-seven people were wounded in that blast.

Alaa Mohammed grieves over the coffin of his brother, Iraqi policeman Sattar Mohammed, in Baghdad on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. A slew of bombings targeting police in the capital killed 25 people and wounded scores of others, police said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

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Alaa Mohammed grieves over the coffin of his brother, Iraqi policeman Sattar ... more >

Officials said both suicide bombers exploded their vehicles at the outer entrances into the police stations.

“The scene was horrific,” said Salim Ghadban, who was having breakfast near the Karradah police station when he heard a loud explosion.

“We saw terrified people, some injured, running in our direction, and we rushed to the attacked police station and saw burned bodies and charred cars,” he said. “We helped cover the burned bodies until the ambulances arrived.”

The attack in Hurriyah was especially remarkable because the neighborhood is a stronghold of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. It is almost entirely surrounded by blast walls, and access is tightly restricted through four entrances manned by the Iraqi army.

Also, a roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol in western Baghdad, killing two policemen and wounding another five, police officials said.

A parked car bomb exploded in western Baghdad targeting a police patrol but killed one civilian and injured five people. Three people also were injured by a roadside bomb that hit a police patrol in western Baghdad.

A hospital official confirmed the causalities. The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but such attacks are usually the work of Sunni militant groups such as al Qaeda in Iraq. They often target security forces in their attempt to destabilize the country and sow havoc.

The military spokesman for Baghdad, Qassim al-Moussawi, blamed al Qaeda for the attacks and said they were an attempt to show people that the militants are still active.

“Every three months or so, al Qaeda mobilizes all its resources to launch such attacks in one day to say that al Qaeda is still able to attack and threaten security posts,” he said.

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