- The Washington Times - Friday, July 15, 2005

BAGHDAD — Suicide car bombs and explosions rocked wide areas of the Iraqi capital yesterday, targeting U.S. and Iraqi security forces and killing at least 30 persons. Two U.S. Marines were killed in a blast near the Jordanian border.

At least 111 persons, including seven American soldiers, were wounded in the bombings — at least seven of them suicide attacks. One of the suicide bombings occurred after sundown on a bridge over the Tigris River near the home of President Jalal Talabani.

Three security guards were killed and nine persons were wounded in that attack. Mr. Talabani was at home at the time, aides said, but the target may have been a U.S. convoy.

The wave of attacks, which began at midmorning and persisted after nightfall, marked an escalation in car bombings in Baghdad after a six-week U.S.-Iraqi military offensive sharply reduced their numbers since May.

They took place one day after a suicide attack on the green zone, in which one would-be bomber was captured. A suicide blast near a U.S. convoy on Wednesday killed 27 persons, including 18 children and one American soldier.

“The terrorists continue to strike at the most innocent,” U.S. Col. Joseph DiSalvo said of the civilian casualties. “There is no place in a civilized society for these murderers.”

In the deadliest attack yesterday, a suicide car bomber struck an Iraqi army base in the Shaab neighborhood of Baghdad, killing eight Iraqis, including civilians and security personnel, and wounding 20, Maj. Khazim al-Tamimi said.

Another suicide car bomb yesterday evening in western Baghdad targeted a police commando patrol, killing six policemen and wounding 45 persons, including 38 civilians, police Capt. Taleb Thamer said.

Two Iraqi soldiers died and seven persons were wounded when a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb near an Iraqi patrol in Andalus Square in central Baghdad, Col. Salman Abdul Karim said.

A car bomb also exploded near a U.S. convoy in the Rustamiyah area of southeastern Baghdad, wounding two Americans, the U.S. military said.

Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and 14 persons wounded in a suicide car bombing at the former Defense Ministry building in northern Baghdad, Iraqi officials said.

Another car bomb exploded in eastern Baghdad, wounding six persons, including a U.S. soldier, police said.

Al Qaeda’s wing in Iraq claimed responsibility in Internet statements for the attacks in Rustamiyah and Andalus Square, but the authenticity could not be confirmed.

Elsewhere, a suicide car bomb killed five Iraqi soldiers and one civilian and wounded 17 civilians in Haswa, 30 miles south of Baghdad, officials said. In Kirkuk yesterday, a car packed with explosives detonated prematurely, killing the two men in the vehicle and a passer-by, police said.

The two U.S. Marines died Thursday in a roadside bombing during combat operations near the border with Jordan, the U.S. military said yesterday.

During a Friday sermon at a mosque, a prominent Sunni cleric condemned the violence, especially the Wednesday suicide bombing that killed the 18 children.

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