- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2005

BAGHDAD — Three car bombs exploded near a bus station and hospital in Baghdad yesterday, killing as many as 43 people and wounding scores in the deadliest attacks in the capital in weeks, police said.

Another car bomb exploded in Fallujah, killing three persons, including two children. One of the children was a girl who appeared to be younger than 5.

The violence came as Iraqi politicians resumed negotiations on drafting a constitution after they missed a Monday deadline but got an extension to finish the document, a key step in the political process that the U.S. hopes will bring stability and help end the insurgency.

The largest Sunni Arab political party criticized the drafting committee, calling it “biased and chaotic” and accusing it of trying to divert discussions from Sunni objections to federalism, which the minority fears would split the country.

A suicide car bomber targeting policemen detonated his vehicle outside the Nahda bus station in central Baghdad, one of the city’s major transit points, the U.S. military said.

A second car exploded in the open-air station’s parking lot near buses headed to Amarah and Basra, Shi’ite-dominated cities in southern Iraq, police Capt. Nabil Abdul-Qader said. Survivors searched charred buses and cars for signs of relatives.

About 30 minutes later, a suicide bomber exploded his vehicle near the Kindi Hospital as many of the wounded were arriving for treatment, police said. It was not clear whether the hospital was a target.

Capt. Abdul-Qader said 43 persons died and 85 were wounded in the attacks.

The U.S. military said 32 civilians and six policemen were killed and 68 were wounded.

“This particular incident, where terrorists deliberately target civilians, emergency responders and hospitals, defines crimes against humanity — period. The Iraqi people have seen once again that the terrorists have no regard for human life,” said Col. Joseph DiSalvo, commander of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

It was the deadliest series of single-day suicide bombings in Baghdad in weeks, although suicide attacks with far lower death tolls occur here regularly.

Twenty-five persons died in a suicide blast July 10 at an army recruiting center in Baghdad. On July 13, a car bomb in Baghdad killed 27 persons, including 18 youths and one American soldier.

Four suspects were detained at the bus station on suspicion of involvement in the attacks, the Transportation Ministry said.

Two U.S. soldiers also were killed earlier this week, the military said yesterday. One was killed Tuesday when a roadside bomb exploded near his patrol in southwestern Baghdad, and another was killed Monday in an insurgent attack in northern Iraq.

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