- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

3:18 p.m.

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber struck a funeral in Baghdad today, killing at least seven people as militants show increasing defiance to a major security operation in the capital.

The attacker, wearing a belt packed with explosives, followed a funeral procession into a tent before detonating the blast in a mostly Shi’ite district of eastern Baghdad, police said. At least 15 people were injured.

In other bloodshed across Baghdad, a car bomb and a suicide attacker killed at least 11 people.

More than 100 people have been killed in the Baghdad area since Sunday in a direct challenge to efforts by U.S. and Iraqi forces to restore some authority on the streets and give the embattled government some breathing room.

The first attacks came during the busy morning rush for goods and fuel.

A car rigged with explosives tore through a line of cars at a gas station in the Sadiyah district in southwestern Baghdad. Police said at least six people were killed and 14 injured in the neighborhood, which is mixed between the majority Shi’ites and Sunnis whose militant factions are blamed for many of the recent bombings and attacks.

Later, a suicide attacker drove a bomb-laden car into a vegetable market near a Shi’ite enclave in southern Baghdad. At least five persons were killed and seven injured, police said.

Outside Baghdad, nearly 150 people were hospitalized complaining of breathing problems, vomiting and other ailments after a truck carrying a chlorine-based substance was hit by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad, said Brig. Gen. Qassim Moussawi, a military spokesman.

Two persons died in the blast, and the others were treated after being exposed to fumes and debris near Taji, about 12 miles northwest of Baghdad, Gen. Moussawi said.

Yesterday, insurgents staged a bold daylight assault against a U.S. combat post north of Baghdad, killing two soldiers and injuring 17. The U.S. military called it a “coordinated attack” — which began with a suicide car bombing and then gunfire on soldiers pinned down in a former Iraqi police station, where fuel storage tanks were set ablaze by the blast.

The head-on attack in Tarmiyah, about 30 miles north of Baghdad, was notable for both its tactics and target. Sunni insurgents have mostly used hit-and-run ambushes, roadside bombs or mortars on U.S. troops and stayed away from direct assaults on fortified military compounds to avoid U.S. firepower.

It also appeared to fit a pattern emerging among the suspected Sunni militants: trying to hit U.S. forces harder outside the capital rather than confront them on the streets during a massive American-led security operation.

Mohammed al-Askari, spokesman for Iraq’s Defense Ministry, blamed the attack on a cell of al Qaeda in Iraq, which has claimed responsibility for many high-profile strikes. “It’s their work,” he said.

Altogether, nine U.S. service members have been reported killed since the beginning of the weekend, six of them yesterday.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide