Bloody day in Iraq: Over 100, including three US troops, killed in multiple attacks as al Zarqawi vows more
Iraqi fighters, some believed linked with Al-Qaeda suspect Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, unleashed attacks on four cities across Iraq Thursday leaving scores of people killed in what seems to be the boldest assault yet ahead of Iraqi self-rule.
All in all, more 100 people were killed and over 300 injured nationwide.
The simultaneous attacks on police stations in a western Iraqi city Thursday, left seven people dead and 13 wounded, police and hospital officials said.
The gunmen used rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons to attack the stations in Ramadi, located some 100 k9ilometers west of Baghdad, police said.
Another group attacked the Farooq police station, also with rocket propelled grenades. In a third assault, gunmen attacked a Ramadi government building, destroying several police cars.
Dr9. Hammad al-Duleimi of Ramadi's hospital confirmed seven were killed and 13 were wounded.
In another attack, four Iraqi soldiers were killed in a blast near a checkpoint manned by Iraqi and American soldiers in the southern Baghdad district of Dora.
9Zarqawi claims attack
Also Thursday, in Baqouba, in apparently coordinated attacks on Iraqi police and US troops, fighters affiliated with al-Zarqawi killed at least 15 Iraqis and two U.S. soldiers as they laid waste to the city, with corpses of policemen left lying in the street.
Maj.9 Neal E. O'Brien, a U.S. 1st Infantry Division spokesman in Baqouba, said gunmen attacked U.S. troops with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, killing two American soldiers and wounding seven. Soldiers returned fire, killing two attackers, he said.
Gunmen also attacked a police patrol car carrying at least three9 policemen, witnesses said.
Residents said many of the gunmen wore yellow headbands bearing the name of a group called "Saraya al-Tawhid and Jihad" (Battalions of Unification and Holy War).
A statement quoted Thursday by a Saudi Web site claimed respon9sibility for the Baqouba attacks in the name of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who said the fighters belong to his movement. He called residents to "comply with the instructions of resistance."
The statement appealed to residents to remain in their houses "because these days are going to witness campaigns and att9acks against the occupation troops and those who stand beside them."
Meanwhile, explosions and shelling also rocked the eastern side of the city of Fallujah, witnesses said. Armed men ran through the streets, witnesses said. Residents said U.S. forces were shelling from positions outside the city, and helicopters were in the skies. US Marines said a Cobra helicopter gunship was downed near Fallujah, but the crew was unharmed.
In the meantime, in Mosul, four car bombs exploded near police buildings, according to press reports. One exploded in front of the mayor's office, killing at least 10 civilians and injuring around 100 others, said the U.S. military.
The U.S. military said an American soldier had been killed and three wounded in the blasts.
Later, however, reports said over 60 people were killed and some 220 injured in the various Mosul blasts.
The blast near the mayor's office went off at about 9am (local time) when the street was full of people on their way to work. It caused heavy damage to the city hall, which houses the mayor's offices, and several other buildings in the area, Reuters reported.
Police said the mayor, Salem al-Hadj Isa, who is also the head of the local province's security commission, was the blast's target, but he was unharmed.
Also in Mosul, an Iraqi National guardsman has been killed and four others wounded while trying to defuse a bomb, an Iraqi officer and the US military said. A doctor from the local hospital said two of the wounded were seriously hurt.
Police Captain Ahmad Uday Khairi said that in Mosul on Wednesday night, a policeman had been killed and another wounded in a shoot-out around 8:30pm (local time) in the same Dawassa district in the city center.
He said two attackers escaped but the other one has been captured.
Elsewhere, a US soldier has been wounded and a US vehicle destroyed in a bombing in Qayara, 50 kilometers south-east of Mosul. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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