Iraq: Scores dead as American abducted
At least 43 Iraqi students and police officers were killed on Tuesday by a suicide bombing carried out by two bombers in Baghdad. The attack occurred in a classroom of students in the Baghdad Police Academy, according to a US military report. At least 73 others were wounded as well in the blast. The military initially said the bombers were women but later retracted the statement.
Also on Tuesday, Iraqi police sources revealed that the bodies of 20 Iraqis, believed to be civilians, were found in separate locations in the Anbar region of western Iraq.
Nine bodies with gunshot wounds were discovered by a road near the town of Falluja, west of Baghdad. 11 more bodies of civilians were found dumped off a highway west of Baghdad according to an Iraqi police report on Tuesday.
The 11 bodies were found on a highway outside of the town of Rutba, on a road which connects the Iraqi capital with Jordan.
The region's population is mostly Sunni Arab, and one in which many Shiite travelers have been killed in the past, according to Reuters.
The dead, all of who had their hands bound, are believed to have been killed three days ago.
In another incident, four people were killed in northern Iraq on Tuesday when members of a Kurdish Islamic party was attacked by mobs, party officials said.
Back in Baghdad, a suicide bomber killed three people and injured at least 20 others in an attack on a Baghdad cafe, police said, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military said a soldier died when a patrol hit a roadside bomb Sunday.
In another development, a video broadcast on Al-Jazeera showed a blond, Western-looking man sitting with his hands tied behind his back. The video also bore the logo of the Islamic Army in Iraq and showed a U.S. passport and an identification card. The group claims it had kidnapped a U.S. security consultant.
President Bush said Tuesday the United States will work for the return of captive Americans in Iraq. "We, of course, don't pay ransom for any hostages," Bush said, according to the AP. "What we will do, of course, is use our intelligence-gathering to see if we can't help locate them," Bush said.
On Monday, a statement signed by 25 prominent Muslim individuals and organizations, including Hamas and Hizbullah, called for the release of four western hostages by their Iraqi captors.
Among the signatories was Khaled Mishaal, of Hamas, and two officials of the Lebanon's Hizbullah.
The statement, issued by the Muslim Association of Britain, stated that "Such peace activists should have been welcomed into Iraq and treated as honorable guests instead of being kidnapped and used as bargaining chips."
Four Christian peace activists, including a Briton, an American, and two Canadians, were abducted last week in Iraq.
"While fully supporting the right of the Iraqi people to resist occupation with all legitimate means, we denounce as illegitimate any act of aggression against innocent civilians," the statement added.
"We therefore call for the immediate release of these four hostages and of all other Western civilians kidnapped in Iraq."
Most foreign hostages have been released after kidnapping, but around 50 have been executed, at times by beheading.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)