Scores, including six Americans, were killed and wounded Thursday in a series of attacks. In the most serious incident, two blasts rocked Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone in quick succession Thursday and U.S. sources confirmed four Americans killed. One report said they were all employees of a private U.S. security firm.
A U.S. military statement said the bombs were "hand-carried" into the zone and that five people were killed in the blasts and 20 people wounded, including one U.S. soldier, an American airman and two U.S. civilians, the statement said.
The compound houses key U.S. and Iraqi government offices. A top Iraqi official said the attacks appeared to have been a "suicide operation." This was the first time bombers have successfully infiltrated the zone. Tawhid and Jihad, the group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed credit for the blasts, saying they were "martyrdom" attacks.
Also in Baghdad, two American troops were killed in Baghdad, one in a roadside bombing in the morning and the second in a shooting in the afternoon, the military said.
Earlier, a car bomb went off next to an American convoy west of Baghdad, killing at least one Iraqi and injuring eight, hospital officials said Thursday. The attack took place Wednesday in Khan Dhari, some 35 kilometers west of Baghdad, said Abbas al-Timimi, director of the nearby Abu Ghraib Hospital, The AP reported.
Also Thursday, 15 Iraqi National Guardsmen (ING) were killed in an overnight attack in Qaem near the Syrian border, according to a police officer in the town, AFP reported.
In another incident, gunmen killed two new Iraqi Army officers in a drive-by shooting in Baqouba as they headed to work.
Two Iraqi bystanders were killed in bomb blasts in the northern city of Mosul, hospital officials said. According to The AP, one blast targeted an Iraqi National Guard convoy, wounding six Iraqi soldiers, and the other targeted an American convoy.
Meanwhile, U.S. forces exchanged fire with iraqi fighters in Ramadi following a series of raids, locals said Thursday. At least eight people were reported dead.
Three mortars, apparently aimed at city hall, hit a nearby house, killing two people and injuring four, including women and children, said Dr. Alaa al-Aani of Ramadi General Hospital.
The gunfire subsided Thursday morning and U.S. forces withdrew from the city center, witnesses said. City hospital officials said eight people in all were killed and 17 were wounded.
In Fallujah, US planes killed five people and injured 16, doctors at the city's main hospital told AFP. The US military confirmed the raids, claiming that they targeted sites were strongholds of Zarqawi and that "reliable intelligence sources confirmed several Zarqawi terrorists were operating in the facilities at the time of the strike". (albawaba.com)
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