New wave of attacks targets Iraqi police, soldiers

July 4, 2011

Bombings and booby-trapped vehicles targeting Iraqi police and soldiers killed at least 10 people and injured dozens Monday, ending a relatively peaceful week across Iraq.

None of the attacks appeared to have targeted U.S. troops or military installations as American diplomatic and military officials prepared to mark the Fourth of July holiday with a series of events.

In Baghdad’s Mansour district, an explosion killed three police officers and injured four others, according to local officials. Another explosion, in the city’s Durra district, injured one police officer and three civilians.

A man blew himself up in the Bab al-Muadham district as Iraqi soldiers tried to capture him. Five troops were injured, officials said. On Sunday night, a sticky bomb exploded beneath a car in the same area, killing two and injuring two, authorities said.

In Abu Ghraib, about 20 miles west of Baghdad, a booby-trapped car killed two Iraqi soldiers and injured nine Monday, according to local police officials. Also in Abu Ghraib, an explosive charge killed a leader of the Sunni Awakening movement and his wife, officials said.


Shiite pilgrims pray at the Imam Moussa al-Kadhim shrine last week. Heavy security in Baghdad during their pilgrimage led to a drop in violence, but the relative peace was snapped Sunday with a series of attacks on local security personnel. (Hadi Mizban/AP)

In Anbar province, a booby-trapped car killed three police officers and injured four civilians north of Fallujah, according to local police officials. A suicide bomber struck outside the Haditha police station, injuring two officers, according to a provincial spokesman.

The violence comes as the nation’s top political leaders are scheduled to meet this week to discuss the possibility of requesting an extension of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq beyond the expiration of a three-year security agreement in December. James F. Jeffrey, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said Saturday that the United States remains open to considering such a request.

Meanwhile, assassinations, an increasingly common insurgent tactic, continued Sunday night in Baghdad. Officials said gunmen using pistols equipped with silencers assassinated a police trainer near a gas station on the Iraqi capital’s busy Palestine Street. An employee of al-Mustansiriya University, a predominantly Shiite institution, was fatally shot a little later, officials say.

The attacks follow last week’s annual pilgrimage of hundreds of thousands of Shiites to Baghdad’s Kadhimiyah shrine, which holds the tomb of a Shiite imam. The pilgrimage led to a drop in violence across the city as local police provided heavy security and closed several major roads, disrupting traffic for five days.

The past month was the deadliest for Iraqi civilians this year, with more than 340 killed, according to the Interior Ministry. In addition to bombings and assassinations, officials blamed an increased use of booby-trapped vehicles, which often kill the bomb’s intended target and several bystanders.

Special correspondents Uthman al-Mokhtar and Asaad Majeed contributed to this report.

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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