- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 19, 2005

BAGHDAD — Attackers gunned down a police officer yesterday in Kirkuk, then bombed a funeral procession carrying his corpse, killing three other policemen and wounding two, officials said.

The attackers sprayed automatic-weapons fire from a vehicle, killing the policeman as he made his way to the station house early yesterday, police Capt. Ahmed Shinrani said. Hours later, a roadside bomb hit mourners and security forces transporting the corpse for burial.

“This is a criminal act. The mourners were doing a religious duty. I don’t understand how someone could blast a funeral,” wailed Allaa Talaban, sister of one of the officers killed in the blast in Kirkuk, an oil-rich city 180 miles north of Baghdad.

Assailants in Baghdad also killed police Commissioner Ahmed Ali Kadim as he traveled to his office in the Doura neighborhood of the capital, said Falah Al-Mohammadawi, an investigator in the precinct.

The Sunni Arab-led insurgency that has grown since the ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein routinely attacks U.S. and other international troops, as well as Iraqi security forces and officials they consider to be collaborators with the Americans.

The violence continues two years after President Bush ordered military strikes on March 19, 2003. The anniversary falls on March 20 in Iraq because of the time difference.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, a series of blasts sent smoke up from the banks of the Tigris River, a few yards outside the heavily fortified green zone. Cobra attack helicopters flashed overhead.

A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb, targeting a U.S. military patrol on a highway northwest of Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad in the restive region known as the Sunni Triangle, Iraqi police Sgt. Laith Ismael said.

The car bomb “detonated prematurely, before it could reach the patrol,” the U.S. military said in a statement. No casualties were reported.

Iraqis continued protests yesterday against a Jordanian man they believe carried out a suicide bombing that killed 125 persons in Hillah on Feb. 28. “No, no to terrorism,” chanted about 200 people in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

The Jordanian daily Al-Ghad had reported that the man, Raed Mansour al-Banna, carried out the attack, the single deadliest of the Iraqi insurgency. The paper later issued a correction, however, saying it was not known where in Iraq al-Banna carried out an assault.

Al-Banna’s family has denied his involvement in the Hillah attack, saying he was killed while carrying out a suicide bombing in Mosul.

More than 2,000 Shi’ite demonstrators marched through Baghdad on Friday, raising the Iraqi flag over Jordan’s Embassy and demanding an apology from the Jordanian government.

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