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Three Days of Extraordinary Bloodshed Shake Iraq

by Lisa Ashkenaz Croke

Over 100 Iraqis have died in what is already one of the country's bloodiest weeks under occupation. The chaos culminated Wednesday in a massive car bombing in Baqouba and fighting Southeast of the capital.

July 29, 2004 – At least 68 civilians murdered Wednesday morning when a suicide car bomb detonated 35 miles northeast of Baghdad are among the latest casualties in three days of mayhem throughout Iraq that have left well over 100 people dead.

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A group waiting in line to register at a police recruiting station in Baqouba was the assumed target of the explosives-laden minibus. The blast also killed 21 passengers of a separate vehicle traveling alongside the minibus, reports Reuters. The number of wounded has been reported as anywhere from 30 to 56 people. The bomb was detonated near a crowded market. Both the numbers of dead and wounded are expected to rise.

Monday began with the news that Mussab Al-Awadi, a senior interior ministry official for tribal affairs, was shot as he left his home in Baghdad. His two bodyguards were also killed. Similarly, the assistant director of Mahmoudiya Hospital, Dr. Qassem El-Obaidi, was shot and killed in his car Monday night, as he drove home from the hospital located about 25 miles south of Baghdad.

Also on Monday, gunmen killed two women and wounded two others as they waited for the bus that would take them to work. The four women worked as cleaners for Betchel in Basra, as did a fifth woman who survived by pretending to be dead. "I was covered in the blood of my friends," she told the UK Independent.

Near Mosul, suicide bombers killed an Iraqi woman, her child, and an Iraqi guard and wounded three US soldiers and two Iraqi security personnel. A separate car bombing wounded several people in Tikrit, while a car detonated in Baghdad claimed no casualties.

In Qaim, a town near the village where US pilots killed dozens of wedding guests in May, militants took hostage two Jordanian drivers. The captors threatened the men with execution if their employer, Jordanian caterer Daoud and Partners, doesn't stop working with US personnel.

On Tuesday, nine Iraqi civilians were injured from a roadside bombing in Balad-Ruz, about 40 miles northwest of Baghdad. A separate such bombing in the same town killed one US soldier and injured three others, while a car bomb detonated in Baqouba killed only its driver, reports the Associated Press. Mortar rounds launched near Baghdad’s Green Zone killed a garbage collector, wounded another and fourteen US soldiers. The AP noted that eleven returned to duty later that day.

In addition to Wednesday’s casualties in Baqouba, the US Military reported seven Iraqi soldiers and 35 resistance fighters died in combat approximately southeast of Baghdad. The fighting, which involved US troops and occurred some 35 miles from the capital in the town of Suwariyah, reportedly wounded ten other Iraqi soldiers.

In the Baghdad suburb of Rahmaniya, one person and five others were injured in an apparent car bombing. The AP reports that two cars were seen burning and a nearby building located on the northern edge of Baghdad’s "Green Zone" sustained damage.

West of Baghdad, an Iraqi woman was killed and seven other people injured when a mortar hit an apartment building in Ramadi. The suspected original target was a nearby US base.

Up north, two gunmen assassinated a policeman in Kirkuk, while 28 miles away two other insurgents blew themselves up in an unsuccessful attempt to sabotage the Kibirit oil pipeline. The pipeline was reportedly not damaged.

The recent bloodshed takes place just days before 1,000 Iraqi leaders meet to elect a National Council, a 100-member advisory body that will oversee the interim government until general elections are held. The leaders are also expected to approve Iraq’s 2005 budget.

 

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.


Lisa Ashkenaz Croke is a contributing journalist.

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