By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 28, 2007
BAGHDAD, Jan. 27 -- Seven U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq over the past three days, the military said Saturday, as violence in the capital and elsewhere continued to surge.
Three of the soldiers were killed Saturday north of Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle, the military said in a statement.
A Task Force Lightning soldier assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division was killed Friday in Diyala province in eastern Iraq when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle, according to a military statement. Another soldier was killed Friday in Diyala when his unit came under attack, the military said.
The military also announced that two soldiers were killed Thursday in eastern Baghdad when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.
The soldiers' names were withheld pending notification of their relatives, officials said.
Iraqi civilians also were targeted in the violence.
Two suicide bombers drove into a market in the New Baghdad neighborhood of the capital and simultaneously detonated explosives in their vehicles, said Maj. Kassim Abdul Karim of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. At least 13 people were killed in the attack, the latest in a string of bombings this week in areas where Shiite Muslims congregate.
More than 45 bodies with shotgun wounds were found in Baghdad during the past 48 hours, said Brig. Salim Muhsin, another Interior Ministry spokesman.
Also Saturday, armed men wearing what appeared to be Iraqi police uniforms and driving vehicles that looked like police cars raided a computer store in the Sinaa sector of the capital. The gunmen kidnapped eight employees and stole several computers, the ministry spokesman said.
Zaid Sadiq, a merchant who works near the raided store in eastern Baghdad, said the gunmen abducted only men but stole cellphones from women.
"How can we work or live like this?" Sadiq asked. "They looked exactly like police -- how can we resist them? They were in police uniforms, and who's to say that they are not police?"
Meanwhile, a prominent politician in the western city of Ramadi was kidnapped and killed, according to a physician at Ramadi Hospital. Saied Hussein al-Alwani, a council member, was abducted by suspected members of the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq; his body was discarded on a road an hour later with four shotgun wounds, according to Mahmood al-Ani, the physician.
Ani said the politician was killed because he had been "accused of helping the American forces." Al-Qaeda in Iraq posted a statement at a mosque asserting responsibility for the killing, Ani said.
In Baghdad, two rockets fired into the fortified Green Zone at 4 p.m. slightly injured two people, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said. "We are currently investigating the incident," spokesman Lou Fintor said.
It was the second rocket attack this week on the compound that houses the U.S. Embassy and the Iraqi parliament.
Iraqi officials said the U.S. Consulate in Hilla, the capital of Babil province, was attacked with mortars. Fintor said he did not have information about the reported attack.
Special correspondent Naseer Nouri and other Washington Post staff in Iraq contributed to this report.