34 People Are Killed In Six Bombings In Baghdad; 2 Britons Die In Helicopter Crash

34 People Are Killed In Six Bombings In Baghdad; 2 Britons Die In Helicopter Crash
April 17th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: 34 People Are Killed In Six Bombings In Baghdad; 2 Britons Die In Helicopter Crash

34 People Are Killed In Six Bombings In Baghdad; 2 Britons Die In Helicopter Crash
New York Times
April 16, 2007
Pg. 8

By John F. Burns
BAGHDAD, April 15 — At least 34 people were killed in Baghdad on Sunday in another day punctuated by car bombings and suicide vest attacks on civilian targets of the kind that the two-month-old American security crackdown has so far been unable to restrain.
All six bombs that caused fatalities were detonated in predominantly Shiite areas, which have been the persistent target of Sunni militant bombing attacks.
The day’s military casualties included the deaths of two British servicemen killed when two British Puma troop-carrying helicopters crashed northwest of Baghdad in a mission before dawn. The United States military announced three deaths on Sunday: two soldiers and a marine, killed in separate incidents.
Six British servicemen were injured in the helicopter crash, which Defense Minister Desmond Browne of Britain said appeared to be accidental rather than a result of insurgent ground fire, which had downed several American military helicopters in Iraq this year. News reports in Britain suggested that there had been a midair collision, possibly during a Special Operations raid of the kind that elite British and American troops frequently carry out from bases near the crash site, southwest of the Sunni town of Taji, on Baghdad’s outskirts.
One of the injured servicemen was said to be in critical condition in an American military hospital.
The worst of Sunday’s bombings in Baghdad occurred in the predominantly Shiite district of Shurta in southwest Baghdad, where two car bombs that exploded minutes apart killed at least 17 people and wounded 50, according to an Iraqi police official at Yarmouk hospital, where many of the casualties were taken. Witnesses said that the bombs detonated in a busy street market and at a nearby intersection, and that about half of those who died were women and children.
At midafternoon, a bomb in a parked minibus exploded in the Karada district of south-central Baghdad, an area with a mainly Shiite and Christian population. Police officials said nine people had been killed and 17 wounded. A few hours earlier, according to the police, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a minibus on a busy street that heads into the Kadhimiya district of north-central Baghdad, a mainly Shiite district, killing at least three people and wounding 11.
Two more bombs exploded in Karada at nightfall, killing five people and wounding 27, including three policemen, according to the police.
In the northern city of Mosul, the police said two oil trucks driven by suicide bombers had exploded outside an Iraqi military base in the Yarmouk neighborhood, killing at least four people, including two soldiers, and wounding more than 20 others. A police statement said there were other bodies in the rubble, and described the attack as having followed a familiar insurgent pattern, with the second bomber waiting to detonate until rescuers and bystanders gathered around the wreckage caused by the first.
Political followers of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr said Sunday that their six cabinet ministers would quit their posts on Monday to protest attacks against his organization during the Baghdad security push. Bahaa al-Aaraji, a lawmaker from Mr. Sadr’s party, said that it would order Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to choose an “independent and technocrat” cabinet.
Mr. Sadr has issued threats to pull out of the government several times before but has not carried through on them. If his allies were to leave the cabinet, it would seriously weaken Mr. Maliki’s already shaky administration.
The bombings in Baghdad maintained a grim staccato of attacks that have marked the first phase of the American-led attempt to regain control of the capital with the so-called surge of nearly 30,000 additional troops that President Bush ordered deployed to Iraq late last year. American commanders say the effort has reduced the Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence that racked Baghdad after the bombing of a revered Shiite shrine in the city of Samarra early last year, but that curbing insurgent bombings, many of them by groups linked to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, has so far eluded them.
Even the hopes generated by the falling numbers of unidentified bodies found daily around the capital, the main bright spot in the new security plan so far, were dimmed on Sunday when the police reported finding 30 bodies, the highest daily number in a month. The number of bodies found on wasteland, in sewers and elsewhere frequently averaged 30 or more a day last year, after the Samarra attack.
An indication of how Baghdad’s six million people are reacting to the new security crackdown came from the frustrated and angry mood at the scene of Sunday’s minibus bombing in the Karada district. Among survivors and others who helped extract victims from the carnage, there was widespread blame for the Qaeda terrorists who are said by the Americans to be responsible for many of the bombings. But there was reproach, too, for the Americans, and for the United States-supported government of Prime Minister Maliki, for failing to halt the attacks.
“I am asking myself, where is the security plan?” said Zahid Awad Slaman, a 30-year-old nighttime security guard who was riding his motorcycle nearby when the minibus blew up. He described seeing a fireball bursting from the parked vehicle, which enveloped people nearby as the blast from the bomb threw cars across the street.
The Americans “said they had rid us of the tyrant Saddam, but what have they done for us since then?” he said. “I blame the Americans and the government for this, because the violence grows day by day. The foreign troops have caused Muslims to kill their Muslim brothers.”
At a news conference in Baghdad, the hard choices the war has placed before American politicians were evident as Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, spoke with reporters about his two-day visit here, his fifth since the invasion in March 2003. Senator Hagel, who has said he is considering a presidential bid, broke with his party last month in voting for a Democratic-sponsored bill calling for an American troop withdrawal by March 31, 2008.
But he was reluctant to reaffirm support for a withdrawal deadline as he discussed what he had learned during a visit to American troops in Ramadi, in the heart of insurgent territory, and talks with top Iraqi and American officials in Baghdad.
He predicted that Congress would break the deadlock with President Bush by striking the withdrawal deadline that both houses had attached to bills approving about $100 billion in supplemental war financing for Iraq and Afghanistan. But he said the compromise would still involve Congressionally mandated “benchmarks” for progress in Iraq, which he did not specify.
The senator appeared eager during his visit to avoid political embarrassment of the kind that enveloped his fellow Republican senator, John McCain of Arizona, a strong supporter of the American troop buildup, when he toured a Baghdad market two weeks ago under the protection of 100 American troops and hovering helicopters and later told reporters that the scene at the market reflected the progress achieved by the buildup.
Asked on Sunday what he had done during his day in Baghdad, Senator Hagel, a close friend of Senator McCain’s, flashed a wry smile and said, “We did no shopping while we were here.”
Ali Adeeb, Qais Mizher and Wisam A. Habeeb contributed reporting.

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