Iraq: Attacks against Shi'ites claim lives of more than 120

8 dead in double suicide bombing in Baghdad; US warns Iraq to keep Shi'ite militias out of security services.

baghdad car bomb 298.88 (photo credit: )
baghdad car bomb 298.88
(photo credit: )
A suicide bomber detonated his car in a crowd of Shiite mourners north of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 36 people and raising the death toll in two days of attacks against Shi'ites to more than 120. Five more American soldiers died in roadside bombings. In the north, US and Iraqi forces raided a suspected al-Qaida hideout in Mosul, and at least seven insurgents died - three of them by their own hand to prevent capture, Iraqi authorities said. Four Iraqi policemen were also killed and 11 US troops were wounded, Iraqi and US officials said. The bomber detonated his vehicle late in the afternoon in a crowd of mourners offering condolences to Raad Majid, head of the municipal council in Abu Saida, over the death of his uncle. Abu Saida is near Baqouba, a religiously mixed city 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad. Police said about 50 people were also injured. On Oct. 29, a bomb hidden in a truck loaded with dates exploded in another Shiite community in the same area, killing 30 people. Following the latest blast, ambulances streamed into the main hospital in Baqouba ferrying the wounded, many of whom were rushed directly into operating rooms where doctors worked franticly to save the. Hospital facilities were so crowded that dazed and bloodied survivors - many with serious injuries - lay in agony on gurneys in the hallways because of the backlog in the surgical rooms. Doctors and nurses - their white uniforms spattered in blood - rushed from gurney to gurney trying to determine who needed surgery first. Earlier Saturday, a car bomb exploded in a crowd of shoppers at an outdoor market in a mostly Shiite neighborhood on the southeast edge of Baghdad, killing 13 people - five of them women - and wounding about 20 others, police reported. Witnesses said they saw a man park the car and walk away shortly before the blast. The five American soldiers - assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division - died in a pair of roadside bombings near Beiji, 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad, the US command said in a statement. Five others from the same unit were wounded. Another soldier from the 101st died in a US hospital in Germany of injuries suffered two days ago when his vehicle was deliberately rammed by an Iraqi car near Beiji, the US command said Saturday. In Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraqi officials said police and US soldiers surrounded a house before dawn Saturday after reports that al-Qaida in Iraq members were inside, said Brig. Said Ahmed al-Jubouri, the spokesman for the Mosul police. As a fierce gunbattle broke out, three of the insurgents detonated explosives and killed themselves to avoid capture. Five more died fighting, while four police officers were also killed, he added. Al-Jubouri said officials were attempting to identify the dead insurgents. In Baghdad, the US command confirmed a firefight and said 11 US soldiers, nine Iraqi army troops and one policeman were killed. The U.S. statement put the insurgent death toll at seven while the Iraqis said eight were killed. Since Friday, at least 125 Iraqi civilians have been killed in bombings and suicide attacks. They include 76 people who died in near-simultaneous suicide bombings at two Shiite mosques in Khanaqin along the Iranian border. Four people have been arrested, including one who was believed to have been planning another suicide attack, a security officer in Khanaqin said. Attacks against Shiite civilians by Sunni religious extremists have occurred throughout the Iraq conflict but have spiked since last weekend when up to 173 detainees were found last weekend by US troops in an Interior Ministry building in Baghdad. Most of the detainees were believed to be Sunni Arabs, who dominate insurgent ranks, and some showed signs of torture. Iraq's Shiite-led government has promised an investigation and punishment for anyone guilty of torture. Elsewhere, masked gunmen killed five members of Saddam Hussein's party in a series of attacks Saturday in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, police said. Three children were killed and one was wounded when mortar rounds fired at a U.S. base about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad fell short of their target and struck a house, police said. US troops exchanged gunfire with insurgents in Ramadi, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad, police said. There was no casualty report.