A massive explosion rocked an area of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad Monday morning near the Red Cross building and four police stations across the city, killing about 40 people, witnesses said.
More than 200 people were wounded in the string of the attacks, all took place within about 45 minutes. It was the bloodiest attack yet in the city since the fall of Saddam Hussein on April 9, 2003. These attacks have indicated a level of organization that U.S. officials had doubted the Iraqi resistance possessed.
The Red Cross said 12 were killed in the bombing of its building, and Iraqi police said 27 were killed in the police station bombings, most of them Iraqis but at least one U.S. soldier.
Commenting on the news from Baghdad, US President Bush said U.S. progress in Iraq is making "insurgents" more "desperate" and fueling attacks.
Sitting next to civilian U.S. Iraqi administrator L. Paul Bremer in the Oval Office, Bush said he remains "even more determined to work with the Iraqi people" to restore peace and civility to the wartorn nation.
Red Cross building
According to a U.S. General, around ten people were killed in this blast. One witness said the bomb was packed in an ambulance but there was no confirmation from police.
The huge explosion, which occurred shortly after 8:30 a.m. (local time), came one day after a rocket attack on the Al Rasheed Hotel.
Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling said three other vehicles exploded at police stations in the Baghdad area on Monday, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"From what our indications are, none of those bombers got close to the target either," Hertling said.
The Red Cross attack was "definitely" a suicide bombing, he said, adding that up to 12 people were killed and some 10 others were injured in that attack. Dr. Allawi Attiyah of the Ibn al-Nafeez hospital put the total at 10 dead and 12 injured.
The Red Cross spokeswoman in Baghdad, Nada Dumani said that most of those injured in the attack on the Red Cross building were Iraqi staffers. According to her, this marks the first time a building of the organization is attacked. She added, "We will not abandon the Iraqi people, our mission here is important."
The explosions outside police stations left streetscapes of broken, bloody bodies and twisted, burning automobiles. Iraqi police reported some 27 people killed in those attacks, including 15 Iraqis at the ad-Doura station in southern Baghdad.
A police station in Baghdad's Karkh neighborhood was also ripped by a massive car bomb explosion.
According to media reports, at least three policemen were killed and ten U.S. soldiers were wounded at the Al-Elam police station when a white car exploded at 8:30 a.m.(local time). However, there are conflicting reports on the number of casualties, with some reports saying eight people were killed.
Several hours following the attacks, a U.S. military source confirmed that one U.S. soldier was killed and six others were injured in the suicide attack in central Baghdad, when a car packed with explosives exploded near an Iraqi police station.
According to some reports, the car crashed into the station's parking lot and burst into flames as policemen gathered to start work. (Albawaba.com)
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