Car Bomb Kills Four in Fallujah, Iraq
FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) _ A car bomb exploded Tuesday near a police station on a major street in the tense city of Fallujah, killing at least four people, police said. The attack came a day after a series of suicide bombings in Baghdad left about three dozen dead.
With Baghdad residents still in shock from the string of bombings the day before, strong explosions were heard after sunset Tuesday. At least three mortars exploded in the Jadriya district, across the Tigris River from the palace headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi police said.
There was no immediate word on casualties or damage.
In Washington, President Bush blamed both loyalists to Saddam Hussein and foreign terrorists for the recent attacks.
``Basically what they’re trying to do is cause people to run,″ Bush told a Rose Garden news conference Tuesday. ``That’s what terrorists do.″
Aid organizations were weighing whether to pull personnel out of Iraq after two days of dramatic attacks in Baghdad. Monday was the bloodiest day in Baghdad since Saddam’s regime fell more than six months ago. Suicide bombers struck the Red Cross headquarters and three police stations, killing eight Iraqi policemen, at least 26 Iraqi civilians and an American soldier.
Also Monday, another U.S. soldier was killed when insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grenade attack at munitions clearers, the military said. Six Americans were wounded.
Insurgents on Sunday hammered a downtown hotel with rockets, killing an American soldier. The same day, one of Baghdad’s three deputy mayors _ Faris Abdul Razzaq al-Assam _ was assassinated in a drive-by shooting, the U.S. military announced.
Investigators are trying to determine whether a would-be fifth suicide bomber from Monday’s attacks _ who was caught before he could detonate his explosives _ is truly Syrian as he claims, an official of the U.S. occupation authority said.
The man had a Syrian passport and investigators are trying to determine if it’s authentic, said the official on condition of anonymity.
In the northern city of Mosul, the editor of an independent Iraqi newspaper was shot and killed Tuesday by men who followed him up to the roof of his office’s building as he made a phone call.
Ahmed Shawkat, editor of the independent ``Without Direction,″ had received death threats for his writings, which have been critical of the anti-U.S. resistance as well as the U.S. occupation, said his daughter, Roaa.
Tuesday’s bomb in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, was in a Toyota that exploded in front of a power station and about 30 yards from a school and 100 yards from a police station, witness Hamid Ali said. The target was unclear.
Hours later, after sundown, eight massive explosions were heard in the city, but their cause was not immediately known.
Tawfiq Mijbel, who was badly injured by shrapnel in the morning blast, said he had been driving directly behind the vehicle that exploded. ``It stopped in front of the power company. A man got out, while another stayed in the car. A few seconds later it blew up,″ Mijbel said from his hospital bed.
Khamis Mijbal, who owns a shop opposite the spot where the car blew up said the blast produced a massive ball of fire and that debris flew in all directions.
The school was closed, but police said one body was found inside. Police Col. Jalal Sabri said all the victims appeared to have been bystanders. Sabri said at least four people were dead but the number could reach six. The count was difficult because some victims were dismembered, he said.
Tuesday night, insurgents opened fire on the southern gate of the main U.S. military base in Tikrit, Saddam’s hometown, wounding at least one soldier from the 4th Infantry Division, witnesses said.
The night before in Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city, two U.S. patrols were ambushed, wounding three American soldiers.
In southern Iraq, an explosive went off as a patrol passed, wounding a British soldier and two Iraqis _ a contractor and a civilian _ the military command said.
Since Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq on May 1, 114 U.S. soldiers have been killed by hostile fire, and about 1,675 have been wounded. U.S. forces come under attack an average of 26 times a day, and incidents have been on the rise since early September.
The brazen and deadly attacks in Baghdad attested to the surge in resistance by opponents of the American occupation.
Secretary of State Colin Powell urged the Red Cross and other nongovernment organizations _ as well as foreign contractors and the United Nations _ to stay in Iraq.
``They are needed. Their work is needed. And if they are driven out, then the terrorists win,″ Powell said Monday in Washington.
Antonella Notari, chief spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, said no decision had been taken whether to evacuate non-Iraqi staff. Twelve of the dead in Monday’s attacks were killed in the car-bombing outside the ICRC office in Baghdad.
However, the German TV network ARD quoted the head of the ICRC delegation in Iraq as saying the evacuation of Red Cross personnel would begin Tuesday.
Last week, before Monday’s bombing, the Netherlands moved its diplomatic staff in Iraq to Jordan, citing safety concerns, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. Five foreign staff members were relocated to Amman, while Iraqi staff continued to work at the Dutch embassy, said spokeswoman Hannah Tijmes.
Many coalition and Iraqi officials blamed foreign fighters in the recent attacks.
A coalition spokesman, Charles Heatly, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that ``there certainly are indications that there are foreign terrorists who are coming into Iraq,″ but he did not explicitly accuse them of responsibility.
Britain’s special representative in Iraq, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, also said Tuesday that foreign terrorists could be coming into Iraq from Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The use of suicide bombings in Monday’s attacks ``is a sign of foreign terrorist tactics, rather than the Saddam loyalist elements that we are still trying to chase down,″ Greenstock told BBC.