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Suicide Car Bombers Kill 68 in Southern Iraq

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  • Suicide Car Bombers Kill 68 in Southern Iraq

    By Abdel-Razzak Hameed

    BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) - Suicide bombers killed at least 68 people, 17 of them children incinerated in minibuses taking them to school, in coordinated strikes on police stations in Iraq (news - web sites)'s mainly Shi'ite city of Basra Wednesday.

    Basra Mayor Wael Abdul-Hafeez accused Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s al Qaeda network of being behind the morning rush-hour blasts that shattered months of relative calm in the southern city.

    Near-simultaneous car bombs hit three police stations in Basra and two more struck a police academy in Zubair, a mainly Sunni town 25 km (15 miles) further south.

    At least three Iraqis were killed and three British soldiers wounded, two of them seriously, in Zubair.

    "All four attacks seem to have been carried out by suicide bombers," said a British Defense Ministry spokeswoman in Basra, which is in Britain's sector of responsibility.

    The mayor told a news conference 68 people, not counting the bombers, were killed and 99 wounded. British officials said about 10 policemen were among the dead.

    Two minibuses were caught in the blast at Basra's al-Saudia police station. Ali Abdul-Sadiq, a hospital official, said nine schoolgirls and their driver were killed in one. Eight kindergarten children died in the other.

    A wounded Iraqi, Amin Dinar, said he had heard a huge explosion as he stood at the door of his house.

    "I looked around and saw my leg bleeding and my neighbor lying dead on the floor, torn apart," he said from his hospital bed. "I saw a minibus full of children on fire."

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) said he had no plans to send more troops to Basra in response to the blasts and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said suicide attacks would not derail plans to hand sovereignty to Iraqis on June 30.

    The U.S.-led occupation which followed the ousting of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) is due to end on June 30 with power handed to an interim Iraqi government, but preparations for the transition have been eclipsed by this month's bloodletting and hostage-taking.

    Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, told a group of Iraqi scientists he did not know who was behind Wednesday's bombs and that he expected more attacks in the run up to June 30.

    "Let's not give the terrorists a victory by being able to derail the process," he said.

    U.S. soldiers killed in action since the start of the war rose to 511, from 510 Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Defense (news - web sites) Web site showed.


    Denmark said a Danish businessman reported missing on April 11 had been found dead. An Italian hostage was killed this month by kidnappers demanding Italian troops leave Iraq.

    Three other Italians are still held hostage. Canada said a Canadian had been abducted, part of a spate of kidnappings of civilians from more than a dozen countries. Most have been freed.

    The Basra blasts sowed panic across a city which has been fairly peaceful during the U.S.-led occupation and largely escaped this month's surge of violence elsewhere in the country.

    Basra's mayor said police had recovered the remains of one bearded bomber. "I accuse al Qaeda," he said.

    U.S. officials have blamed bin Laden's network and its affiliates for some of the violence sweeping Iraq.

    Interior Minister Samir Sumaidy said the Basra attacks were similar to devastating suicide attacks in the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala and the Kurdish capital Arbil earlier this year.

    A British military spokesman said three vehicles had exploded at Basra police stations at about 7:15 a.m. (0315 GMT). British officials said the Zubair blast killed three Iraqis and wounded four British soldiers, two seriously.


    In Falluja, west of Baghdad, fighting violated a fragile truce hours after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld suggested the cease-fire in the Sunni city would not last.

    Six civilians were killed and 10 wounded in clashes between Marines and rebels, residents said.

    U.S. snipers, concealed on rooftops, pumped round after round into buildings, film shot by U.S. journalists with the Marines showed. Black Hawk helicopters blasted unseen targets with machinegun and cannon fire. An F-16 jet flew overhead and a huge dust cloud rose in the air, possibly after a heavy bomb.

    "Thugs and assassins and former Saddam henchmen will not be allowed to carve out portions of that city and to oppose peace and freedom," Rumsfeld said Tuesday.

    Dozens of families who had fled earlier fighting queued on the edge of Falluja Wednesday waiting to be allowed home. The truce deal stipulated that 50 families may return each day.

    Muthanna Harith al-Dari, a mediator from the Muslim Clerics Association, said some insurgents had begun to hand in heavy weapons in line with a U.S. truce condition.

    "The resistance is ready to hand over their weapons but the Americans have not given them any guarantees that if they do so they will be safe," he said.

    But a senior official in the U.S.-led administration said the response to the weapons demand had been "very limited."

    North of Baghdad, U.S.-backed Iraqi soldiers killed four insurgents and seized three explosive-laden cars in a raid overnight, said Iraqi Major-General Anwar Amin in Kirkuk.

    President Bush (news - web sites), seeking re-election in November, said U.S.-led forces remained strong even though Spain, Honduras and the Dominican Republic had decided to pull their troops out of Iraq.

    Berlusconi said Italian troops would stay after June 30, but Poland, another strong U.S. ally in Iraq, said it was considering options for eventually withdrawing its troops.

  • #2
    The end is near.
    Official Sponsor of Jim Edmonds & John Smoltz


    • #3
      I can't wait to hear the "terrorist rationale" for this. Unreal.
      Dude. Can. Fly.


      • #4
        ...'next stop is Vietnam...

        Official Sponsor of Marco Gonzales and the Productive Out!!!

        Said the Quangle Wangle Quee


        • #5
          Originally posted by dvyyyyyy@Apr 21 2004, 11:12 AM
          I can't wait to hear the "terrorist rationale" for this. Unreal.
          george bush made me do it
          Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist


          • #6
            These 'people' aren't 'people' in the way we think of them. They're barbaric.


            • #7
              These 'people' aren't 'people' in the way we think of them. They're barbaric.
              Ahhhh, dehumanizing the enemy. Works like a charm every time.



              • #8
                Originally posted by Moon Man@Apr 21 2004, 12:47 PM
                These 'people' aren't 'people' in the way we think of them. They're barbaric.
                Ahhhh, dehumanizing the enemy. Works like a charm every time.

                It worked for the Brittish in the Revolutionary war, didn't it?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Moon Man@Apr 21 2004, 12:47 PM
                  These 'people' aren't 'people' in the way we think of them. They're barbaric.
                  Ahhhh, dehumanizing the enemy. Works like a charm every time.

                  Assuming it's al Qaeda, yeah, they are indeed sub-human.
                  Dude. Can. Fly.


                  • #10
                    Ahhhh, dehumanizing the enemy. Works like a charm every time.
                    Do you dispute it? Not all of them are barbaric, of course, but....


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jhanke@Apr 21 2004, 12:13 PM
                      ...'next stop is Vietnam...
                      And it's one, two, three,
                      What are we fighting for ?
                      Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
                      Next stop is Vietnam;
                      And it's five, six, seven,
                      Open up the pearly gates,
                      Well there ain't no time to wonder why
                      Whoopee! we're all gonna die.
                      From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.

                      For more than 20 years I have endeavored-indeed, I have struggled-along with a majority of this Court, to develop procedural & substantive rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor.

                      I feel morally and intellectually obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed.

                      The path the Court has chosen lessens us all. I dissent.