Suicide Attacks, Bombings Kill Dozens in Iraq

An Iraqi policeman stands watch at the site of a lunchtime car bombing outside a restaurant in Shiite eastern Baghdad that killed at least five people.
An Iraqi policeman stands watch at the site of a lunchtime car bombing outside a restaurant in Shiite eastern Baghdad that killed at least five people. (By Karim Kadim -- Associated Press)
By John Ward Anderson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, June 8, 2007

BAGHDAD, June 7 -- Suicide attackers and car bombs struck targets in central, western and northern Iraq on Thursday, leaving at least 24 people dead and 42 wounded, Iraqi security officials said.

Gunmen also shot three professors from Islamic University in Baghdad, killing two and wounding one, and killed the head of the Education Ministry's department of research and development as he drove to work, police said.

"It is part of the campaign to attack every positive thing in Iraq," said an Education Ministry spokesman, Basil al-Khatib, who blamed the attacks on extremists who oppose modernity and want to drive "all elite and educated people from Iraq." He complained that the national government "is not acting" to prevent further attacks against teachers, "it only talks."

At least 211 university professors and 104 officials from the ministry have been assassinated in Iraq since the war started in March 2003, Khatib said. In addition, 91 professors have been kidnapped, and their fate is unknown, he said.

"They are attacking all professionals -- doctors, professors, journalists," he said.

On Thursday, gunmen fatally shot Sahar al-Haideri, a journalist working for the independent Aswat al-Iraqi news agency, in the city of Mosul, 220 miles north of Baghdad, police said. Her death followed the killings of 11 reporters and other media workers in Iraq in May, the deadliest month of the war for journalists, according to Reporters Without Borders.

In another sign of the fractures in Iraqi society, gunmen stormed a barbershop in the southern port city of Basra, killed the barber and wounded three of his customers, an Interior Ministry official said. The barber was the 18th killed in Basra this year, the official said. The profession has been targeted by both Sunni and Shiite extremists seeking to punish Iraqis who embrace Western styles and customs.

Thursday's bombings began in Rabiyah, a northern town on the border with Syria, when a suicide attacker exploded a truck bomb at the local police headquarters, killing nine people and wounding 22, according to Nineveh provincial police commander Mohammed al-Wagga.

A short time later, a car bomber attacked a joint Iraqi-U.S. military facility, killing four British security contractors, he said. An official at the British Embassy said he was unaware of the incident.

A truck bomb exploded in a suicide attack at the traffic police headquarters outside Ramadi, about 55 miles west of Baghdad, on Thursday morning, killing three policemen and injuring four, Anbar provincial police Col. Jubair Rasheed said.

In a fourth attack, a car bomb exploded around lunchtime outside a falafel restaurant in the Shiite Talibiya neighborhood of eastern Baghdad, killing at least five people and wounding 16.

And a truck bomb explosion in Abu Ghraib, about 15 miles west of Baghdad, destroyed a Shiite mosque, damaged a Sunni one and killed two Iraqi army soldiers and an Iraqi civilian, the U.S. military reported.

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