BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Insurgents carried out a series of attacks in Baghdad on Friday using car bombs and mortar rounds, killing at least 20 Iraqis and wounding more than 65, officials said. A car bomb killed another Iraqi soldier near the southern city of Basra.
The worst-hit area was a district of Baghdad where four suicide car bombs exploded, hitting Iraqi soldiers and police and Iraqi civilians on a Friday, the Muslim day of worship for most Iraqis.
Separately, an American soldier was killed and four were wounded in a roadside bomb attack late Thursday evening in Hawija, a city about 150 miles north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Friday.
The wounded soldiers were evacuated to a coalition medical facility and were in a stable condition, the military said in a statement. The name of the dead soldier was withheld pending notification of next of kin.
As of Thursday, April 28, 2005, at least 1,572 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
The attacks in Baghdad came a day after Iraq’s interim National Assembly approved a Cabinet lineup, laying the groundwork for the first elected government since Saddam Hussein’s ouster to take power soon.
Nearly a third of the 275-member National Assembly stayed away from the vote, underscoring the myriad ethnic and religious divisions that have hampered the formation of a government since landmark parliamentary elections on Jan. 30.
U.S. officials had been pressing for a resolution to the three-month stalemate, worrying the political vacuum was encouraging insurgents, who have staged a series of dramatic and well-coordinated attacks in recent weeks.
The most serious of Friday’s attacks involved four suicide car bombs in the Azamiyah section of central Baghdad, said police chief Brig. Khalid al-Hassan.
The first one hit an Iraqi army patrol, the second one hit a police patrol and the third and fourth ones struck in quick succession at separate barricades near the headquarters of the Interior Ministry’s local special forces unit, said al-Hassan.
Col. Hussein Mutlak said the bombs killed a total of at least 20 Iraqis, including 15 soldiers and five civilians. At least 65 were wounded, of them 30 troops and 35 civilians, he said.
Elsewhere in Baghdad, gunmen opened fire on a police patrol, wounding one policeman, and a 10-year-old child was seriously wounded when a mortar round hit a house there, police said.
In southern Iraq, where Britain’s forces are based, a roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi border guard patrol west of Basra killed one soldier and wounded two, said Iraqi Lt. Col. Abdul Hadi Al-Najar.
Six insurgents armed with weapons and explosives were arrested late Thursday in Basra, Iraqi army Capt. Firas Al-Timimi said.