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Blasts Across Iraq Kill at Least 14

Two U.S. Soldiers Are Among Dead

By Jackie Spinner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 25, 2005; Page A14

BAGHDAD, Feb. 24 -- Insurgents attacked Iraqi security forces on Thursday in a spate of bomb blasts across the country that killed at least 14 people, including two American soldiers.

In the deadliest incident, a car bomb blew up outside a government compound in Tikrit, killing 10 Iraqis, including six police officers, said Maj. Tariq Muhammed of the Joint Coordination Center in Tikrit; he said the 9 a.m. blast wounded 35. The U.S. military reported that eight people were killed.

Two Iraqi policeman console each other after a suicide bomber wearing a police uniform exploded a car bomb in Tikrit, killing 10 Iraqis. (Bassem Daham -- AP)

Iraq War Deaths

Total number of U.S. military deaths and names of the U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war as announced by the Pentagon yesterday:

1,480 Fatalities

In hostile actions: 1,130

In non-hostile actions: 350

Staff Sgt. David F. Day, 25, of Saint Louis Park, Minn.;

Sgt. Jesse M. Lhotka, 24, of Alexandria, Minn.;

1st Lt. Jason G. Timmerman, 24, of Tracy, Minn.;

All three soldiers were assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery, 34th Infantry Division, based in Montevideo, Minn. They were killed Feb. 21 in Baghdad.

Lance Cpl. Trevor D. Alston, 32, of Austin; Marine Force Reserve's 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, based in Austin. Died Feb. 22 in Anbar province in a noncombat vehicle incident.

All troops were killed in action unless otherwise indicated.

Total fatalities include four civilian employees of the Defense Department.

A full list of casualties is available online at www.washingtonpost.com/nation

SOURCE: Defense Department's www.defenselink.mil/newsThe Washington Post

The attacker was dressed in a police captain's uniform when he approached the compound, which houses the regional police headquarters, a passport office and City Hall, Muhammed said. He also said the bomber was driving a black car, identified himself as a new police recruit and had an official-looking document.

"The guards at the checkpoint let him through, and he drove fast as he approached the police station, where he blew himself up," Muhammed said.

Homemade bombs killed the two Americans in separate incidents north of Baghdad -- one near Qaryat, the other near Samarra -- according to statements released by the U.S. military. No other information regarding the incidents was immediately available.

In Kirkuk, an ethnically divided northern city increasingly on edge since the Jan. 30 elections gave local authority to ethnic Kurds, a roadside bomb exploded at an Iraqi army checkpoint near the main airport, which is also a U.S. military base.

Khattab Omar Arif, commander of Kirkuk's emergency police force, said he believed he was the target of the attack, which killed two police officers and wounded four, all of whom were his guards.

"It was after me," said Arif, a leader with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of two major Kurdish parties.

A Kurdish-backed list of candidates won a majority of seats on the regional council that governs the city. The outcome was a major political step for the long-oppressed ethnic group, but it angered Arab residents, many of whom moved to the city during the rule of Saddam Hussein under a policy designed to tip the ethnic balance of Kirkuk to the Arabs.

Turhan Yousif, the chief of police in Kirkuk, said a large number of insurgents had been filtering into the city from Mosul and Baiji, fleeing raids and attacks by U.S. and Iraqi security forces.

"They came here to do the attacks and to boil the situation here," Yousif said, adding that insurgents appeared to be employing a new tactic: organizing in mobile units that could "set fire in the cities."

Special correspondents Marwan Anie in Kirkuk, Naseer Nouri in Baghdad and Salih Saif Aldin in Tikrit contributed to this report.

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