Three U.S. troops die in Baghdad bombing
Bombers struck in Baghdad and a northern city Thursday, killing three U.S. soldiers and nearly two dozen Iraqis in a new spasm of violence...
The Associated Press
Ex-soldier spared: Former Pfc. Steven Dale Green, convicted of raping and killing a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murdering her parents and 5-year-old sister in 2006 in Mahmoudiya, was spared the death penalty Thursday and will serve a life sentence after jurors couldn't agree unanimously on a punishment. Green, 24, of Midland, Texas, will be formally sentenced Sept. 4. He was tried in federal court in Paducah, Ky., as a civilian because he had been discharged from the Army before his arrest.
Charges reinstated: A Spanish judge in Madrid reinstated charges Thursday against three U.S. soldiers in the death of a Spanish journalist covering the Iraq invasion in 2003. The judge said he had obtained new testimony from witnesses contradicting the U.S. argument that the tank crew was responding to hostile fire when it shot at a Baghdad hotel housing Western journalists. The three soldiers were all from the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division, based in Fort Stewart, Ga.
Seattle Times news services
BAGHDAD — Bombers struck in Baghdad and a northern city Thursday, killing three U.S. soldiers and nearly two dozen Iraqis in a new spasm of violence that has taken at least 66 lives in two days.
A spate of attacks since April seems aimed at stoking sectarian tension and undermining public confidence weeks before U.S. combat troops are to leave Baghdad and other cities, handing security responsibility to Iraq's security forces.
Although recent violence has not risen to levels of two years ago, it has fueled public unease over whether Iraq's army and police can maintain the security gains since the 2007 U.S. troop buildup.
Most attacks this year have been on Shiite targets, suggesting al-Qaida and other Sunni Arab extremists are trying to rekindle sectarian fighting and undermine Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki within his core Shiite constituency.
Attacks have accelerated since the Shiite-led government began cracking down on Sunni paramilitary groups that abandoned the insurgency and joined forces with the U.S. to augment security.
The deadliest blast Thursday occurred in an outdoor market in Baghdad's southern Dora district, when a bomb exploded near an American foot patrol, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.
U.S. officials said three soldiers were killed and an undisclosed number of Americans were wounded. Iraqi police said 12 civilians also were killed and 25 wounded. The Iraqis spoke on condition of anonymity.
Army Maj. David Shoupe said the blast was caused by an improvised mine and U.S. officials could not confirm Iraqi police and witness reports that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.
Khalil Hamza, a college student who lives near the market, said he noticed four passengers in a white car watching the Americans as they walked through the area. After the blast, he saw the car speed away with three men inside.
"Thick smoke filled the area and the shoppers were in panic," he said.
Earlier Thursday, seven Sunni paramilitaries were killed and eight wounded when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives as they stood in line waiting to be paid at a military base in Kirkuk, police Maj. Salam Zankana said.
Paramilitary groups, known as Awakening Councils or Sons of Iraq, have been frequently targeted by al-Qaida and other Sunni insurgent groups.
Sami Ghayashi, 37, who was among the wounded in Kirkuk, said the local council members had been waiting three months to receive their salaries.
"While we were waiting at gate talking to one another a big explosion took place," he said from a hospital bed. "I saw several colleagues dead, among them my cousin. I have no idea how this suicide bomber got among us."
Also Thursday, a bomb exploded in a trash container inside a Baghdad police station, killing three officers and wounding 19, an Iraqi police official said.
The attacks came a day after a car bomb exploded near a group of restaurants in a Shiite neighborhood of northwest Baghdad, killing 41 people and wounding more than 70.
Despite recent attacks, security in Baghdad remains much better than a few years ago, when the rumble of explosions reverberated daily.
Nonetheless, the attacks have stoked public anger over the failure of Iraqi security forces to prevent bombings, especially in areas where large numbers of civilians congregate.
Parliament's defense and security committee plans to meet Sunday to review the security situation, a Kurdish member of the panel, Firyad Rawndouzi, said.
He blamed the violence on al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated Baath party, saying they "have regrouped recently and were able to revive some of their cells."
Material from The Washington Post is included in this report.
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Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.