- The Washington Times - Friday, February 18, 2005

BAGHDAD — A series of explosions ripped through Iraq yesterday, killing at least 35 persons and injuring dozens on the eve of Shi’ite Islam’s most important holiday, officials said. It was the deadliest day since Iraq’s landmark elections last month.

Suicide bombers attacked two Shi’ite mosques in Baghdad as Friday prayers were ending; another explosion occurred near a Shi’ite religious procession and a third bomber blew himself up at an Iraqi police and national guard checkpoint in a Sunni neighborhood.

Yesterday evening a car bomb exploded outside a Shi’ite mosque in Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of the capital, killing seven persons and wounding 10, said attending doctors.

The attacks recalled bombings on the same Ashoura holiday a year ago that killed at least 181 during the religious festival.

Two Americans also were killed yesterday in separate attacks, bringing to five the number of U.S. soldiers slain since Wednesday, the military said.

The bloodshed began when a bomber walked into the al-Khadimain mosque in the Iraqi capital’s Doura neighborhood and detonated his explosives as worshippers prayed, witness Hussein Rahim Qassim said.

Shortly afterward, a bomb exploded outside the al-Bayaa mosque in a predominantly Shi’ite neighborhood in western Baghdad.

The first explosion killed 15 and the second killed 10, said an official at Baghdad’s al-Yarmouk Hospital. About 30 were wounded.

Less than an hour later, an explosion near a procession of Shi’ites marking Ashoura northwest of the city center killed two and injured five, according to Iraqi police Lt. Waed Hussein.

The fourth attack was at the checkpoint in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of al-Adamiyah.

As of yesterday, at least 1,475 members of the U.S. military had died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

A U.S. soldier was killed and two others wounded yesterday when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle during a combat patrol near Ballad, 50 miles north of Baghdad, the military said.

South of Baghdad, a soldier was killed and two others wounded yesterday evening when a bomb was detonated near them 19 miles north of Diwaniyah.

One soldier was fatally shot in Mosul during a small-arms attack Thursday, the military said. West of Mosul, a soldier was killed and another was wounded when a roadside bomb exploded while they were on patrol in Tal Afar.

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