Bombs kill at least 21 in Iraq
Insurgents using suicide and roadside bombs killed at least 21 people, including a U.S. soldier, yesterday in the latest of a series of...
The Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Insurgents using suicide and roadside bombs killed at least 21 people, including a U.S. soldier, yesterday in the latest of a series of attacks aimed at wrecking Iraq's constitutional referendum next week.
The attacks came as Iraqis began picking up copies of the draft constitution that they will vote on Oct. 15 after the country's Shiite-led parliament ended a bitter dispute with Sunni Arabs about how the referendum will be conducted.
Under U.S. and U.N. pressure, the parliament Wednesday reversed its last-minute electoral-law changes, which would have ensured passage of the new constitution but which the United Nations called unfair.
Sunni Arab leaders who had threatened a boycott because of the changes said they were satisfied with Wednesday's reversal and now are mobilizing to defeat the charter at the polls. But some warned they could still call a boycott to protest major U.S. offensives launched in the past week in western Iraq, the Sunni heartland.
Yesterday's two deadliest attacks in Baghdad involved suicide car bombers.
A man wearing an explosives belt got onto a minibus carrying 14 people — including students, workers and policemen heading to the police academy — and detonated his payload, said police Capt. Abbas Ali. The bomber, who sat next to the driver, struck as the bus passed a police patrol at the intersection where the academy is located, about 400 yards from the Oil Ministry.
At least nine people were killed and nine wounded, Ali said. The bus left a burned-out husk.
Earlier, in Karrada, another part of eastern Baghdad, a suicide car bomb exploded near a convoy of private security contractors, killing three bystanders and wounding six, police Maj. Mohammed Yunis said. One of the four white SUVs in the convoy was damaged, but none of the foreigners in them was hurt.
In northern Baghdad, a roadside bomb hit a U.S. Army patrol in northern Baghdad, killing one soldier, said military spokesman Sgt. 1st Class David Abrams.
That attack raised to 1,945 the number of U.S. military members who have died since the war began in 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
Four U.S. soldiers were slightly wounded when a car bomb hit their patrol in central Baghdad, setting off fighting with small-arms fire and U.S. helicopters, Abrams said.
About 20 miles south of the capital, a roadside bomb hit a police patrol on a highway, killing five policemen and wounding two, said police Capt. Talib Thamir.
A shooting and a roadside bomb in the towns of Taji and Udaim, north of Baghdad, killed two Iraqi soldiers and a policeman.
At least 292 people have been killed by insurgents in Iraq in the past 11 days.
That includes Wednesday's bombing of a Shiite mosque in Hillah, a city south of Baghdad, killing 25 and wounding 93, as hundreds of worshippers gathered to pray at the start of the Islamic month of Ramadan and for the funeral of a man killed two days ago in a blast at his restaurant.
The insurgent attacks — often targeting Shiite Muslims — are aimed at wrecking the referendum. Al-Qaida in Iraq, which has declared "all-out war" on Shiites, has called for stepped-up violence during Ramadan.
Elsewhere, insurgents bombed a pipeline near the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk. The pipeline connects oil fields with Kirkuk's refineries, said police Capt. Farhad Talabani. Iraq's Northern Oil soon would repair the damage, as it has after many other attacks, he said.
Thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops also were waging two major offensives in western Iraq, the Sunni heartland, in an attempt to put down Al-Qaida in Iraq insurgents ahead of the vote.
A 43-year-old detainee died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack at U.S. Camp Bucca, the military said. About 12,300 Iraqi and foreign detainees are being held there and at other U.S. detention centers in Iraq, such as the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.