Iraq: Truck bomber kills 15, wounds nearly 200

Newborn baby girl, US soldier reported among the casualties.

iraq bombing 88 (photo credit: )
iraq bombing 88
(photo credit: )
A suicide truck bomber, his deadly payload hidden under bags of flour, crashed into a police station in a Kurdish neighborhood in the disputed city of Kirkuk. At least 15 people were killed, including a newborn girl and a US soldier, and nearly 200 were wounded. Several girls walking home from school were among those wounded in Monday's bombing, a possible prelude to far greater violence to this oil-rich city 290 kilometers north of the capital. The attack came just days after the government adopted a plan to relocate thousands of Arabs who were moved to Kirkuk decades ago in Saddam Hussein's campaign to displace the Kurds. The US military said one US soldier died from injuries sustained in the attack, while two others were wounded. It also said two Iraqi police officers were among the dead and 17 were wounded. Bombings elsewhere in Iraq killed at least 12 people and wounded more than 40, and police found the bodies of at least 35 victims of sectarian killings. The 21 bodies discovered in Baqouba, about 80 kilometers north of the capital, were believed to have been Shi'ite workers grabbed from three minibuses stopped at illegal Sunni insurgent checkpoints near the violent city. Baghdad police said they found 14 corpses, most tortured and killed execution style; all were thought to be victims of Shi'ite death squads. Monday's blast bore the hallmarks of a series of al-Qaida suicide bombings aimed at further provoking sectarian tension and fighting. It followed three suicide bombings last week by suspected al-Qaida fighters. More than 600 people died in sectarian attacks in Iraq last week alone. The Kirkuk blast also was the third in seven days where suicide attackers hit targets with their bombs hidden under loads of flour, a commodity that has been scarce in some outlying districts. The government only recently resumed shipping flour rations to some areas. The US military reported that a US soldier was killed by a vehicle-bomb in Kirkuk. There were no other reported car or truck bombings in the city Monday. Two other US soldiers were reported killed Monday in Anbar province, west of Baghdad. US troops had been visiting an Iraqi criminal investigations unit at the Rahim Awa compound in a predominantly Kurdish neighborhood in north Kirkuk, city officials said. The attacker rammed the truck into the concrete blast barriers protecting the back of the compound at about 11:30 a.m., Kirkuk police spokesman Brig. Gen. Sarhat Qadir said. Qadir, the Kirkuk police spokesman, said many of a group of 20 children walking home from a nearby school were among the 187 wounded in the truck bombing. The force of the blast also wrecked four structures in the area, including a municipal building. One of the 14 killed was a newborn girl, Qadir said. Also in southern Iraq, a British soldier was killed and a second wounded when gunmen opened fire on them, British military spokeswoman Katie Brown said Monday. It was second British military death in two days. At least 136 British forces have died in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion - 105 in combat.