- The Washington Times - Monday, January 22, 2007

12:34 p.m.

BAGHDAD — Bombings and a mortar attack struck Shi’ite targets in Baghdad and north of the capital today, killing at least 90 persons and wounding scores in a further sign of what appeared to be a renewed campaign of Sunni insurgent violence.

The U.S. military also reported the deaths of two Marines, raising the two-day death toll to 27 in a particularly bloody weekend for American forces in Iraq.

Today’s first blast, a parked car bomb, tore through stalls of vendors peddling DVDs and secondhand clothes shortly after noon in the Bab al-Sharqi market between Tayaran and Tahrir squares — one of the busiest parts of Baghdad. Seconds later, a suicide car bomber drove into the crowd.

Police estimated that each car was loaded with nearly 220 pounds of explosives.

Deputy Health Minister Hakim al-Zamili said at least 78 persons were killed and 156 were wounded.

A suicide bomber killed at least 63 persons in the same area last month.

Hours later, a bomb followed by a mortar attack struck a market in the predominantly Shi’ite town of Khalis, 50 miles north of Baghdad, killing at least 12 persons and wounding 29, police said.

The 78 killed in Baghdad made it the single deadliest attack against civilians in Iraq since Nov. 23, when suspected al Qaeda in Iraq fighters attacked Baghdad’s Sadr City Shi’ite slum with a series of car bombs and mortars that struck in quick succession, killing at least 215 persons.

In other violence, gunmen killed a teacher as she was on her way to work at a girls’ school in the mainly Sunni area of Khadra in western Baghdad, police said, adding that the teacher’s driver was wounded in the drive-by shooting.

Two mortar shells also landed on a primary school in the Sunni stronghold neighborhood of Dora in southern Baghdad, killing one woman waiting for her child and wounding eight students, police said.

Police also said that a cell-phone company employee and a Sunni tribal chieftain were killed in separate shootings in Baghdad.

The two U.S. Marines were killed yesterday — in separate attacks in Anbar province, an insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad, the military said. The deaths came a day after 25 U.S. troops were killed Saturday in the third-deadliest day since the war started in March 2003 — eclipsed only by the one-day toll 37 U.S. fatalities on Jan. 26, 2005, and 28 on the third day of the U.S. invasion.

The heaviest tolls Saturday came from a Black Hawk helicopter crash in which 12 U.S. soldiers were killed northeast of Baghdad as well as an attack on a provincial government building in the Shi’ite holy city of Karbala that left five U.S. troops dead.

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