Weekend violence rages unchecked in Iraq

Sunni bombers strike another Baghdad market, killing at least 13.

baghdad bombing 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
baghdad bombing 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Sunni insurgent bombers on Saturday struck yet another market in a predominantly Shi'ite district, killing at least 13 in their relentless bid to terrorize Baghdad in the final days before US and Iraqi soldiers plan to begin a massive crackdown in the capital. The latest attack capped a week in which more than 150 people, mostly Shi'ites, were slain in bomb attacks. Death squads, believed to be primarily Shi'ite militiamen, continued their butchery on the other side of Iraq's deepening sectarian divide, with police reporting the discovery of 40 bodies dumped in Baghdad alone. Two of the victims were women and most of the bodies showed signs of torture, police said. In all, at least 61 victims of Iraq's sectarian warfare were killed or found dead across the country. The US military reported the deaths of two soldiers in dangerous Diyala province, northeast of the capital. Three others were wounded in the combat operations Friday. The latest reported deaths raised to at least 3,074 the number of US service members who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,466 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military. US air strikes killed 14 insurgents and destroyed a safe house for foreign fighters during a raid south of Baqouba, 60 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. Two suspects were capture, the military said. The Americans said the raid had targeted a foreigner they believed responsible for a series of attacks on US and Iraqi forces in the extremely violent Baqouba region. The military has been scissored there in the midst of some of the bloodiest sectarian fighting of the war. Saturday's bombings employed what has become a classic insurgent tactic. First a suicide car bomber smashed in the busy New Baghdad commercial area shortly after noon, near a major intersection lined with stores and kiosks selling food, clothes, household appliances and birds. As rescuers and shoppers rushed to help the victims, a parked car bomb exploded. The 13 killed included two policemen; four officers were among the 42 wounded, police said. The burned-out hulks of cars and vans littered the market. A bag of fruit could be seen among the twisted metal on the bloody pavement. Shortly before sunset Saturday, a rocket slammed into the Green Zone, wounding two people slightly. It was the second time in three days that rockets hit the area, home to the US Embassy, the Iraqi government and thousands of American troops. Two people sustained slight wounds Saturday. Six were hurt in Thursday's attack at about the same time of day. In central Baghdad, police said armed men in police commando uniforms and driving cars with license plates commonly used by the Interior Ministry raided a computer shop in a Christian section of the Sina'a neighborhood and took away four employees and three customers. Two mortar shells also slammed into a residential district in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriyah, killing two people and wounding seven others. A taxi driver was shot to death after he was caught in the crossfire during clashes in Mosul. A parked car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol later exploded in the northern city, killing one civilian and wounding another.