Iraq: At least 37 killed, about 150 wounded in blasts, shooting incidents
Blasts and fighting on a major street in the heart of Baghdad near the U.S.-guarded Green Zone killed at least 24 Iraqis and wounded more than 100. In a town, west of Baghad, at least 10 Iraqi civilians were killed by US gunfire.
According to The AP, rocket and mortar fire erupted about 5:30 a.m. and continued into the morning in the center of the Iraqi capital. Several rounds hit the Green Zone while U.S. soldiers took positions behind walls and trees along Haifa Street.
AFP, quoting U.S. sources, said the fighting erupted after a car bomb exploded on the street and an American Bradley fighting vehicle caught fire. Iraqi children climbed on top, cheering and dancing beside the flames after the Americans left. A military spokesman said the Bradley was apparently hit by a roadside bomb. Four troops were slightly wounded, he conveyed.
Shortly later, two US helicopters launched missiles and heavy machine-gun fire at the celebrating crowd. The US strike left at least five corpses scattered on the ground and 45 injured, according to AFP.
One of those killed in the Baghdad violence was a Palestinian who worked as a producer for Dubai-based Arabic channel Arabiya and for Saudi channel Ikhbariya, Arabiya and friends said. Witnesses said the young man was shot by U.S. helicopter fire as his crew filmed.
Also in the Iraqi capital, an Iraqi police colonel from the interior ministry died in a car bombing on his way to work in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Amariya, a ministry spokesman told AFP. Another policeman and a 12-year-old boy were also killed in the blast.
In addition, gunmen attacked a police patrol, killing one policeman, the Interior Ministry said.
A second car bomb went off outside Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad, injuring at least three people, Reuters reported. Officials said the two attacks may have been suicide bombing attacks.
A statement by a group linked to al-Qaeda claimed to have attacked Abu Ghraib prison in order to secure the release of the inmates, particularly "the noble pure women of (the Prophet) Muhammad's community."
The early-morning explosions followed a late-night barrage that rattled the capital. Three or four projectiles slammed into apartment buildings across the street from the Palestine and Sheraton hotels, where many international journalists are based.
Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman, an Interior Ministry official, said there were no reports of casualties.
Elsewhere, at least three Iraqi national guardsmen were killed and another three seriously injured on Sunday in a double car and roadside bomb attack northeast of the central city of Hilla, the Polish military said.
In another incident, American tanks and helicopters killed 10 Iraqis, including women and children, when they opened fire on a residential district in Ramadi on Sunday, a doctor told Reuters.
Abdel Salam Mohamed of Ramadi Hospital added a further 40 Iraqis were injured by occupation forces in the town.
Meanwhile, an audiotape purportedly by leading al Qaeda activist in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, boasted that Jihad warriors have humiliated the U.S.-led occupation in Iraq.
In Saturday's audiotape, the speaker noted recent battles between American forces and militiamen in the holy city of Najaf.
"The holy warriors made the international coalition taste humiliation ... lessons from which they still are burning," the speaker said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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