Thursday, November 10, 2005

Report #8 on the Era of Peace


Homicide Bomber Kills 33 Iraqis
Thursday, November 10, 2005

Associated Press
from Fox News

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Two homicide bombers blew themselves up near a restaurant frequented by Baghdad police, killing at least 33 people and seriously injuring 19, while a car bomb killed seven army recruits in Saddam Hussein's hometown, police said.

The bombers struck at about 9:45 a.m., when officers usually stop by the restaurant for breakfast. Police Maj. Abdel-Hussein Minsef said seven police officers and 26 civilians were killed in the blast and 24 others injured, among them 20 civilians.

The blasts came just before British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was expected in the country for a meeting with Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

Samiya Mohammed, a housewife who lives nearby, said she rushed outside when she heard the explosion.

"I went out to see the restaurant heavily damaged. There was bodies, mostly civilians, and blood everywhere inside the place. This is a criminal act that only targeted and hurt innocent people having their breakfast," she said.

There were no Americans in the area, she said.

"I do not understand why most of the time it is the Iraqis who are killed," she said.

A car bomb in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad, detonated in the middle of a group of men outside an Iraqi army recruiting center, killing seven and injuring 13, police Capt. Hakim al-Azawi said.

The men were former officers under Hussein who were recently invited to rejoin the military to help fill out the ranks, Azawi said.

U.S. troops in western Iraq killed two Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders during an operation against a town on the Syrian border, a military statement said Thursday.

U.S. and Iraqi forces have been carrying out a large operation in the town of Husaybah, on the Syrian border about 200 miles west of Baghdad. Officials believe the town has become a major transit point for foreign fighters and weapons entering Iraq.

In a statement released Thursday morning, U.S. forces said they could confirm that two alleged regional terrorists were killed during the operation. The were identified as Asadallah and Abu Zahra.

Asadallah allegedly was "a senior Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist leader and foreign fighter facilitator" who led several terrorist cells, the statement said. Abu Zahra was reportedly a close personal friend and assistant to the head of the Al Qaeda in Iraq operation in Husaybah, the military said.

In Baghdad, the government spokesman said Iraq has dedicated $7 million for compensating families in Husaybah for their damaged houses and cars and $35 million for governmental buildings and infrastructure projects. He said more than 900 people have been forced from their homes by the fighting.

"The Iraqi government is taking care of these families directly by supplying them with their needs," said Laith Kubba, spokesman for Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. "All the roads are open and the city is safe now as the Iraqi Red Crescent is working there."

The U.S. military reported Wednesday that some Iraqi civilians were killed in Husaybah when a U.S. jet attacked a house used by insurgents last Monday, not realizing noncombatants were also inside.

A Marine statement quoted a local Iraqi as saying insurgents forced their way into the home, killed two residents and then locked remaining family members in a room.

"The group then used the home to launch an attack against Iraqi and U.S. forces clearing the area," the statement said. "Subsequently, the house was destroyed by coalition aircraft."

Five bodies were found in the rubble, the statement added. A man and a young girl were rescued and evacuated for medical treatment.

Kubba said the military operations were intended to spread the power of the government ahead of the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections and controlling the Iraqi-Syrian borders.

"The government is in a decisive war and we will continue regardless to how long it's going to take," Kubba said. "We think that they will increase their criminal acts more than what they are doing now and we will never change our policy against them or against those who give them the shelter."

Two car bombs exploded Wednesday night near a Shiite mosque in Baghdad, killing six people, police said. Five policemen were killed when a suicide car bomber struck a patrol near Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Police in the northern city of Kirkuk confirmed Wednesday that the brother of a leading Sunni Arab politician was kidnapped the day before by gunmen wearing army uniforms. Hatam Mahdi al-Hassani is the brother of parliament speaker Hajim al-Hassani.

Sunni insurgents have threatened members of their community who take part in politics, but Iraq also has numerous criminal gangs involved in kidnappings.


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