Bombings Near Iraq Police Academy Kill 6
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ A car bomb exploded outside a police academy in Saddam Hussein’s hometown on Sunday, and another one went off moments later as authorities rushed to the scene, killing at least six Iraqis and wounding 33, officials said.
The carefully coordinated attack by insurgents in Tikrit occurred as recruits at the academy were about to travel to Jordan for a training program, said police Lt. Shalan Allawi.
As police imposed a curfew in the city, Mohammed Ayash, a doctor at Tikrit General Hospital, said four policemen and two civilians were killed by the bombs, and 33 people wounded, most of them policemen. Tikrit is 80 miles north of Baghdad.
South of the capital, three insurgents were killed Sunday as the roadside bomb they were trying to plant in the town of Mahawil exploded, police said in the nearby city of Hillah.
In the Baghdad area, insurgents attacked several U.S. military convoys. In one, a roadside bomb hit a convoy in the east, causing casualties, the American military said, without providing details.
Iraqi police said two American soldiers were killed in the attack and two Iraqi civilians wounded.
Also Sunday, the military announced another casualty from a day earlier. An American sailor died Saturday when the Marine convoy he was traveling with was hit by a roadside bomb in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. Sailors sometimes take part in such operations in support roles such as medics.
The military said a bomb also exploded near a U.S. patrol in western Baghdad Sunday, but no one was hurt.
Another roadside bomb exploded near a convoy in the Abu Ghraib area, west of Baghdad, a witness said, but the U.S. military could not immediately confirm that.
New information also appeared to emerge about four hostages being held by insurgents.
Two women identified as relatives of an Iraqi-American who was kidnapped along with three Romanian journalists in Baghdad last month were shown on Al-Arabiya television Sunday, begging for his release.
With tears in their eyes, the women described as Mohammed Monaf’s sister and mother said he had returned to Iraq after living in exile for 25 years to visit his sick father.
``I’m Mohammed’s sister. I appeal to the kidnappers to release my brother because he is an Iraqi citizen and has come to Iraq to visit my father,″ the younger woman said, wearing a green veil over her head and holding documents she said showed her brother’s Iraqi citizenship.
The older woman, wearing a white veil, spoke next, saying: ``My son was kidnapped on his first time to visit Iraq since he left in 1980. I urge the kidnappers to give my son back.″ Neither woman gave her name during the brief video.
On Friday, Al-Jazeera television aired part of another video in which it said a militant group was threatening to kill the three kidnapped Romanian journalists _ Marie Jeanne Ion, Sorin Dumitru Miscoci and Ovidiu Ohanesian _ and Monaf, described as their translator, unless Romanian troops leave the country within four days.
Romania, a staunch U.S. ally, has about 800 troops serving in Iraq.
The four hostages were kidnapped March 28 near their Baghdad hotel shortly after interviewing interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. They appeared a day later in another video aired on Al-Jazeera.
In two other attacks in Sunday:
_ A gunbattle occurred between police and insurgents in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, wounding two polcemen and one militant, and leading to the arrest of three insurgents, a policeman said on condition of anonymity.
_ A roadside bomb missed a British military convoy near Amarah, 180 miles southeast of Iraq’s capital, wounding the Iraqi driver of a nearby civilian car and its two passengers, an Iraqi woman and her child, said police Capt. Karim Lu’eibi.
On Saturday, at least 16 people were killed, including an American soldier, as the insurgents struck across the country with a series of bomb attacks.
Iraq has experienced a surge in militant attacks that have caused heavy casualties in recent weeks, ending a relative lull after the country’s Jan. 30 elections. Iraqi leaders are struggling to form a Cabinet that will include members of the Sunni minority, believed to be the driving force in the insurgency.