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Bomb Kills 25 at Funeral in Northern Iraq

Insurgents Press Campaign Against New Government; Death Toll Rises to 116 in 4 Days

By Caryle Murphy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 2, 2005; Page A10

BAGHDAD, May 1 -- A suicide car bomber drove into a gathering of mourners at a funeral for a slain political leader Sunday in northern Iraq, killing 25 people and wounding at least 30, a provincial official said.

The attack came as insurgents pressed their violent campaign against the newly formed Iraqi government for the fourth straight day, raising the cumulative death toll since Thursday to 116, including 11 U.S. soldiers, according to the Associated Press.


U.S. troops arrive at the scene of a car bombing that targeted a U.S. military patrol in western Baghdad. Eleven U.S. soldiers were among those killed over the past four days. (Khalid Mohammed -- AP)

The bomber targeted a funeral ceremony for Sayid Ahmed Sayid Wahab, an official of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Tall Afar, a town between Mosul and the Syrian border, said Khisru Goran, the deputy governor of Nineveh province. Insurgents killed Wahab three days ago, according to the Reuters news agency.

Goran said that after the 6:30 p.m. explosion, clashes erupted between the insurgents and U.S. and Iraqi forces, which prevented ambulances from picking up the wounded. Customarily, mourners assemble in chairs in the street outside the home of the deceased's family.

"You will never be able to stop these cars," Goran said. "No matter what you do, a person determined to kill themselves, no one can stop them."

The new cabinet of Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari is predominantly Shiite Muslim, reflecting the outcome of the landmark elections in January. The Sunni minority, long dominant under deposed president Saddam Hussein, is now a minor partner in the government. Some analysts fear their frustration fuels an insurgency that is mostly Sunni-driven.

In other attacks Sunday, a suicide car bomber rammed a U.S. military vehicle in the Zafaraniyah district of Baghdad, killing four people, including two brothers ages 12 and 15. The boys' older brother said they had been in the area because their father owns a garage near the site of the explosion.

As U.S. soldiers attempted to keep crowds from gathering for fear of a second blast, witnesses said that angry youths shouted at them, "No, you go! The suiciders are after you!"

Several hours later, a car bomb targeted a U.S. military patrol in the Jamiaa neighborhood of western Baghdad, setting at least one military vehicle on fire. Iraqi police and U.S. forces closed off the area and began to carry off the dead and wounded.

Earlier in the day, six Iraqi policemen were slain during a dawn ambush on their checkpoint in the Nahrwan section of eastern Baghdad, according to an Iraqi police general who would not give his name. The checkpoint was near a former military college now used by U.S. forces.

A group of about 18 armed men drove up to the checkpoint, which was jointly manned by police and the Iraqi National Guard. Some of the attackers also were killed, the general added.

Also in Baghdad, a Sunni Muslim prayer leader, Rahim Ali, was killed in a drive-by shooting in eastern Baghdad. He was the imam of the Nowfal mosque.

And U.S. military officials said an attempted suicide car bombing at a military base in eastern Baghdad went awry after the bomb failed to detonate properly. The U.S. soldiers at the gate saved the driver, who later said that his family had been kidnapped and that he had been forced to attempt the attack, a statement from the U.S. military said.

Special correspondents Dlovan Brwari in Mosul, and Khalid Saffar, Naseer Nouri and Bassam Sebti in Baghdad contributed to this report.


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