- The Washington Times - Monday, July 11, 2005

BAGHDAD — A man strapped with explosives blew himself up yesterday at a military recruiting center, one in a series of suicide attacks that killed more than 40 people. Five U.S. troops were wounded in a bombing as the prime minister complained Americans were too quick to fire on civilians deemed suspicious.

The U.S. military, meanwhile, released Iranian-American Cyrus Kar, a 44-year-old aspiring filmmaker from Los Angeles who had been detained in Iraq for nearly two months, officials said. Mr. Kar was taken into custody May 17 near Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad, when bomb-making components were found in a taxi in which he was riding.

Yesterday’s deadliest attack hit the army recruiting center at Muthana Airfield in central Baghdad when a man dressed in civilian clothes detonated two explosive-laden belts among a crowd of recruits, killing 25 and wounding nearly 50, U.S. and hospital officials said. Most of the dead were thought to have been recruits.

Elsewhere, a Shi’ite mother and seven of her children were found fatally shot in their beds in Baghdad. One boy survived, police said. The distraught father, who was not home at the time, blamed the killings on sectarian hatred.

Separately, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari criticized U.S. and multinational forces for shooting at Iraqi civilians who act suspiciously near patrols or military areas, saying such cases should be handled in a “civilized” way, such as shooting at tires instead of at passengers.



Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, a spokesman for the U.S. command, said American forces investigate all fatal shootings and blamed the problem on the growing use of suicide car bombs as an insurgent weapon.

“Terrorists, through use of suicide [vehicles], have caused this predicament,” Col. Boylan said. “They have affected the normal level of trust that people have for one another and have made it difficult to distinguish between normal traffic and a grave potential threat.”

In other violence yesterday, two suicide car bombers also killed at least seven Iraqi customs officials at the Walid border crossing into Syria, the U.S. military said. Syrian authorities closed the crossing point, turning back about 300 Iraqis trying to return home, said a Syrian source who spoke anonymously because of touchy relations between the two countries.

A suicide car bomber also rammed into a police convoy carrying an Iraqi brigadier general near the northern city of Mosul, killing five police officers and wounding three, the U.S. military and police said. The senior officer was not injured.

A suicide car bombing in Kirkuk killed at least four civilians and wounded 15, police said. A second car bomb was rigged to explode as rescuers rushed to the scene, but it was found and detonated by U.S. troops, police reported.

Two other suicide car bombers struck near Fallujah, killing an Iraqi civilian and wounding a Marine, the U.S. Marines said.

Five American soldiers were injured by a roadside bomb in southeastern Baghdad, the U.S. command said. They were in stable condition at a military hospital.

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