2 suicide bombings kill 19, wound 45 in western Iraq

By Aaron C. Davis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 27, 2010; 9:41 PM

RAMADI, IRAQ - Back-to-back suicide bombings Monday at a government compound in this western Iraqi city killed 19 and wounded 45, police said, in an attack that heaped tragedy on the families of victims of a similar recent bombing.

Family members of 13 police and security workers killed a little more than two weeks ago in a car bombing outside the Anbar provincial compound had just arrived to receive promised government compensation for their deceased loved ones when a suicide bomber drove a car loaded with explosives into the compound's front gate.

Three minutes later, as emergency workers rushed to the scene, a second bomber wearing a suicide vest detonated himself amid the rescue efforts.

Muhammad Fathiy, a provincial council member and the head of the security committee of Anbar province, which is predominantly Sunni, said many of the dead and wounded were the family members of those who had lost relatives in the Dec. 12 attack. They had "shown up today to receive their compensation from the local government," he said.

Senan Ala'anee, at the emergency room of Alanbar Hospital, said many of the injuries to the surviving victims were serious.

"Many of the wounded have lost some of their body parts and the others were severely burned," he said. "We called the imams of the mosques at the city to call upon the citizens to donate their blood to the wounded."

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks.

Although violence across Iraq has subsided in recent months, the repeated attacks stand out on the government compound in Ramadi, where the Sunni Awakening militias are credited with helping to turn the tide against insurgents two years ago. The compound was bombed and the local governor was among the victims of an attack last year. The front gate of the compound was also bombed in July.

Brigadier Ali al-Dulaymee of the Anbar police said the attack contained hallmarks of previous al-Qaeda bombings in the area and suggested it might be a reaction to recent visits to the province by French, Korean and United Arab Emirates ambassadors to launch investment projects in the Sunni-majority city.

Sunni-dominated Iraqi police in the area and Shiite-led Iraqi army forces had also just completed a rare combined effort to round up suspected militants, including several with suspected ties to Al-Qaeda in response to the kidnapping of an Iraqi police officer. The officer was found unharmed over the weekend in Tikrit.

In an apparent coincidence, a heavily armored U.S. Army convoy made a rare pass by the site of the bombing about 20 minutes before the first blast. The soldiers were on their way to teach a disaster management course to police officers in nearby Habaniya.

Washington Post special correspondent Othman al-Mukhtar contributed to this report.

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